February 24th, 2009
05:20 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain presses Obama on pricey helicopters

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/23/art.maccopter0223.gi.jpg caption="Sen. McCain mentioned the hefty projected price tag for replacing the President's fleet of helicopters as the White House's fiscal responsibility summit ended Monday evening."]
(CNN) - President Obama said Monday he’s pretty happy with helicopter he has - though the new commander-in-chief joked he's never had one to compare it to.

During a fiscal summit at the White House Monday, Arizona Sen. John McCain - Obama's former rival for the White House - pressed the new president on the Defense Department's plan to overhaul the fleet of 28 Marine One helicopters, a process that began early in the Bush administration.

Watch: 'I've never had a helicopter before,' Obama says

The price tag for the new helicopters has been estimated at over $11 billion, more than the cost of Air Force One - a cost that Obama said appeared unnecessary.

"The helicopter I have now seems perfectly adequate to me," Obama responded to laughter. "Of course, I've never had a helicopter before.

"You know? Maybe - maybe I've been deprived and i didn't know it. But I think it is a - an example of the procurement process gone amok and we're going to have to fix it."

Filed under: John McCain • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (328 Responses)
  1. Billiam

    Obama did not order the choppers.
    Where was McCain when Bush placed the order?
    Get ready for 8 yrs of bitchin' from the GOP
    We could save lots of money iots of money if we send the Republican would just go home. They have notrhing offer but complaints.
    We can get that from Fox News.

    February 23, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  2. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Most of the existing choppers in the squadron serving the President are older than the pilots. There is only so much you can do to upgrade before it becomes cost prohibitive and you need a new aircraft. The communications capabilities of the new choppers rival those on Air Force One. Whenever the President flies in Marine One, multiple helicopters travel with him so someone who might want to shoot him down doesn't know which one he's in. The helicopters deploy to wherever he travels, so more than one 'set' is needed. I have a much bigger issue with why Obama took Air Force One 150 miles to address the Democratic retreat a few weeks ago, when that was well within the range of marine One, which is much cheaper to operate.

    February 23, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. Angie in Pa

    Oh Mccain Give it a rest Retire already, People do not care what you think or say I think that was Proven to you On Nov 4 2008 Mccain heres some Advice RETIRE!

    February 23, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. mary

    Go away, John McCain. You should have retired a long time ago. You are nothing but a trouble maker. If you want to be useful, we need unity to fix and restore our government, not an opposition.

    February 23, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. Rich in Seattle

    I truly believe that the Republicans want America to fail so that they can get back into power. I don't see any other explination for their behavior.

    February 23, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  6. NoMoBush

    Old boy please tell me why you did not say a word about it when Bush was in office or when you was running. I think that you are mad because you will not be riding in one of them. Shame on McSame. Give it up old man. You really look bad every time you go up against President Obama. In other words you lose every time.

    February 23, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  7. Join

    How much has he spent flying all over the country drumming up support for his stimulas bill? Boy all that money flying Air Force one and company could have made a big dent in poverty or other programs.

    February 23, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  8. Chris - Denver

    McCain is totally out of control. Somebody needs to tell him to stop embarrassing himself.

    February 23, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  9. Tired of the Party of No, Lake Forest CA

    I think that Sen. McCain's biggest problem with these helicopters is that were he to be riding in them, they wouldn't be designated as Marine One.

    Then again, had he won, he might have been the first president to order Marine One to take off by saying, "Get off my lawn!"

    February 23, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  10. survivor

    No fool like an old fool! I am amazed at the petty garbage that this man is spouting out not to mention his former running mates constant whining – I am so glad that God didn't open the door for these two "mavericks". I just can't imagine it!!

    February 23, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  11. Anne

    And this from McCain who ownes 7 houses and countless high-dollar cars. John McCain is an IDIOT!

    February 23, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |

    Wait a minute. . . .

    Why didn't McLame complain about this when Dubya was in office?

    Surprise, surprise. Same old Republican hypocrisy.

    February 23, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  13. Concerned Texan

    Repugnants....a party scorned. To have one that does not look like you run the country has to cut deep. Anything and everything that Dubya did was fine, but, what a difference an election makes. I see some very tired and frustrated people in that party's future. Hatred takes a toll on the mind and body.

    February 23, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. JJ in FL

    I'm a fiscally-conservative liberal (if that makes sense..?)... The project for updating the helicopters was started under Bush II. The fleet is over 30 years old or something crazy like that! This wouldn't be Obama spending $11bil for HIS fleet of new Marine Ones, it'd be spending $11bil for the PRESIDENCY to have the very best to keep Obama and all future presidents safe– and give them a HQ in the sky, if necessary.

    Yes, $11bil is a crazy amount of $$, I'll grant you that– but the Marine Ones need a serious overhaul, and it'll need to be done sooner rather than later.

    Obama get an AWESOMELY safe new ride for the new fleet of presidential limos– but, again, it's not that HE got a new fleet of limos... the office of PRESIDENT got a new fleet. And, I don't care if it's Obama or 'another Bush' for our president– I want OUR president to be as safe as possible at all times– and in a position to command on the fly, if necessary.

    February 23, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  15. jim

    typical Obama doesnt even know that he doesnt fly in the same helicopter each time that they have a fleet of them that travel around the world to move him arround.
    Stoping waste is importiant but people complaining about who asked the question is part of the problem here.
    We need to cut all welfare but Obama is a TAX and Spend democrat and things are really going to get bad.

    February 23, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  16. ZANE

    John McCain and princess Cindy live in total luxury.......and he's worried about President Obama? Go "whine" somewhere else.

    February 23, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  17. Leah DiMarco, Texas

    BUSH ordered them – what does McCain have to say about that?

    February 23, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  18. Proud American

    I hope someone tell the Idiot McCain that the reason the copter is now so expensive is because of the requirements that the congress continue to place on the order. The sad fact is McCain know why these copters cost continue to rise, the loser is just looking for something to blame on the president. These copters were ordered because of 9/11 and now must met certin standards.

    February 23, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  19. Brent

    Still sour grapes.

    February 23, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  20. Rick S.

    The Republicans are trying to be relevant. Please just let them be. They can't hurt anyone now.

    February 23, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  21. Allison

    And this from a guy who was born with a silver-spoon and still has it. SHUT-UP McCAIN!

    February 23, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  22. Tony,....Ky.

    Bringing up McCain or Bush or Queen Elizebeth is childish! They are not important. What is important is the fact that our new Savior didnt want to "change" or "fix" this chopper issue until it was brought up in the media. Ask yourselves this.......WHY? You idiots better WAKE UP and see that this President is nothing more than another politician!
    Stop drooling over this man. In four years, nothing will be better, expect for companies making more profits due to the president and his cronies in Congress giving more jobs to illegals! Spending more of YOUR kids money.....controling YOUR healthcare costs....allowing anyone to enter our country......not overseeing YOUR money.....not excepting any responsinilities for failed policies...........
    So how is this new Savior any different ??? Lets see how rich any of you are in 4 years!

    February 23, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  23. Valerie

    Didn't seem to bother John McCain when Bush was flying around.

    February 23, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  24. Dexter Skagway

    McCain is complaining about "a process that began early in the Bush administration" ? Gosh, I wonder why this did not bother him or the other Republicans before now? Could it be the same reason they are now upset about partisan politics?

    February 23, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  25. Nicole

    Someone shut this guy up....he's a fool.

    February 23, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14