Don't Let 'Waste' Taunts Prompt More Waste

Obama shouldn't scrap chopper deal just to appease McCain
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 14, 2009 9:01 AM CDT
President Barack Obama returns a salute as he disembarks Marine One helicopter prior to boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland yesterday.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Fearful of appearing wasteful, the Defense Department wants to dump a contract for new presidential helicopters and start fresh—but that means losing $4 billion already spent on the project. It’s the same old story when it comes to “wasteful procurement,” writes Gail Collins in the New York Times: contracts go wrong, we dump them, and lose money as we “start from scratch.”

Riding the president’s 1975 chopper is like “whipping around in an airborne Plymouth.” But after John McCain told President Obama his new ride would amount to wasteful spending, Obama slammed “the procurement process gone amok.” Five helicopters have already been built in the current Lockheed Martin contract—and seem perfectly good. Obama should “take the tougher political route,” Collins urges, ignore McCain’s attacks, and keep the new fleet.