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Air Force One Flyover Prompts a White House Resignation


In this photograph released by the White House of the flight that terrified many, Air Force One passes by the Statue of Liberty in New York. (Photo/The White House)

Updated 4:39 p.m.
By Scott Wilson
The White House official who approved the Air Force One flight over New York City last month that frightened many and prompted building evacuations resigned today after an internal White House investigation found flaws in how the decision was made and passed on to other agencies.

In his resignation letter to President Obama, Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office, wrote that the controversy had "made it impossible for me to effectively lead the White House Military Office," which oversees Air Force One and other presidential aircraft.

"Moreover, it has become a distraction to the important work you are doing as president," he wrote.

Caldera's resignation and the release of the internal review essentially concludes what has been an aggravating and embarrassing event for a young administration that prides itself on competence. It came on a day when Sen. John McCain released a letter he received from Defense Secretary Robert Gates in response to the Arizona Republican's questions about the incident.

The letter disclosed that the flyover's cost taxpayers could be as much as $357,000. Gates said in the letter that "we deeply regret the anxiety and alarm that resulted from this mission."

He wrote that the April 27 flyover, which involved two F-16 aircraft escorting Air Force One low over New York City, had been planned for weeks and coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration liaisons in the region, air traffic control representatives, and tower supervisors. The FAA notified New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office, the U.S. Park Police, the New York Police Department and other local agencies three days before the flight, Gates wrote in the letter.

But, he added, "I am concerned that this highly public and visible mission did not include an appropriate public affairs plan nor adequate review and approval by senior Air Force and [Department of Defense] officials." The Air Force oversees the Presidential Airlift Group, which includes Air Force One and other presidential aircraft.

The final report on the late April incident came on the same day the Interior Department announced plans to reopen the Statue of Liberty's crown to visitors for the first time since before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Air Force jets appeared to use the statue as a backdrop during the flyover.

The flight was conducted to take publicity photos of Air Force One, flying low over Manhattan's skyscrapers, for promotional material. Gates said in his letter that the flight also included a training component for pilots to practice instruments approaches and landings at Atlantic City Airport. He said that "with the exception of one combat photographer, a standard crew complement performed the mission...There were no non-duty personnel or passengers on board."

Gates broke down the costs in two ways. The immediate cost of the flight involving three aircraft -- namely fuel and maintenance expenses -- was $49,770.

But he noted that " the standard methodology" for assessing costs for such flights includes "annualized average maintenance costs allocated on a per flying hour basis." Using that method, Gates put the cost for Air Force One at between $300,658 to $328,835. For the two F-16s, he said the cost was $28,177.

Obama aides have the said the president was furious when he heard about the flight, which for many New Yorkers evoked the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

By Marcia Davis  |  May 8, 2009; 2:11 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , National Security  
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Comments

I cannot believe that people are stupid enough to think that Obama signed off on this. Decisions about things like this are made by staff that rarely even meet with the President. The job of Staff Secretary in the White House is dedicated almost completely to the purpose of filtering what items come before the President. With eveything that is going on I don't want the President spending his time making decisions about a routine public relations fly over that has been conducted for several years now. The fact is that nothing else they criticize Obama for is sticking, because he is doing what he got elected to do, so the the Republicans have to find trivial things like this to get all up in a tizzy about.

Posted by: cmb1 | May 11, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Obama found a scap goat. That takes the pressure off of the Washington Post. Now you can go on praising Obama without him taking any blame for that idiodic stunt. The spin doctor wins again. Thanks WP. The Washington Rag. Sounds much better.

Posted by: SouthernCross2 | May 11, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Might as well hang this admin for torture techniques used against an American populous.Impeach the none American muslim with no birth certificate.

Posted by: sinnersunited | May 11, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Dear Washington Post:

After living around the beltway for over 25 years, I know how you guys think. Thank God I moved far away. Caldero is the fall guy for Obama. Obama never takes any hits from the main-stream media. Maybe that is why you guys have very little credibility anymore. Bernie Goldberg is right, you are slavish sycophants of this Obama. By the way, you guys at the Post simply have no idea how many people in this country feel the opposite of you, we do not worship this fraud Obama. Also, we see through your
continious protection of him, even at any cost to the principles that you once had.

Posted by: walterndebby | May 11, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Some photo op. One poor photo with glare and bad lighting? If it was really a photo op they would have dozens of GREAT photos... this was nothing more than a flying Lincoln Bedroom gone bad... fat cat donors... where's the flight manifest? http://www.RideAirForceOne.com - Donation Required! (if anybody asks just tell 'em it's a photo op!)

Posted by: FRedStatescom | May 11, 2009 3:05 AM | Report abuse

"The FAA notified New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office, the U.S. Park Police, the New York Police Department and other local agencies three days before the flight"
------------
So anybody from Bloomberg's office going to resign?, he IS the Mayor of New York and he couldn't get the word out?, how about the Police Department?, aren't they supposed to protect the citizens of NY? how about the other local agencies?, in fact, what more could Caldera have done?

Posted by: JRM2 | May 11, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

so we got a fall guy because nobody else knew that our fearless leader's personal jumbo jet was gonna buzz NYC.........typical and of course we block out the spotlight of perfection being cast on our president by all of his followers.and then you got swine flu,globalization,northamerican union,kill babys not convicts,fat a$$ queers putting down miss america global warming ice age bailouts,nationalizing health care auto manufacturingbanking.........whoa ...i lost it there for a minute ,got to stop watching so much tv ,maybe get a gym membership

Posted by: jszcoffey | May 10, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

>>> You might as well argue that a power failure in the subway is a terrorist act, because it will spook some people.

A power failure by itself is not a deliberate act.

Someone deliberately turning off the power, without notice, in the subway while people are in the subway so that they could get a photo of the subway in the dark would be a much closer analogy to what was done.

Oh wait.

We still need to add in a very loud noise. This was not just a visual event, the buzzing was accompanied by noise.

Oh wait.

We also need to add in an appropriate precursor event.

We need to have had terrorists actually turn off the power in the subway about four or five years before this event causing massive loss of life and trauma to the city.

Note that this event was done just before the 100th day in office of President Obama.

How very appropriate.

Posted by: Fred8 | May 10, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

"The flight was conducted to take publicity photos of Air Force One, flying low over Manhattan's skyscrapers, for promotional material. "

Why does Air Force One need publicity in the first place? What a waste of time and money!

Posted by: ahashburn | May 10, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

So, if you saw a jumbo jet headed for your 60th floor office overlooking Battery Park, that would be just fine with you? Idiot.

Posted by: JakeD | May 9, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely pathetic and a major sign as to what extent the terrorists won on 911. Air Force 1 flies over NYC and the whole city goes into panic mode.

Grow up! It's long since past time to stop acting like a bunch of frightened little girls in frilly pink dresses. Just because you see an airplane in the sky is no excuse to start screaming in terror.

Posted by: Mystylplx | May 9, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

jschmidt:

Just look at those here dismissing the fly-by as no big deal.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

It is a real shame that somebody had to lose his job because some people got all excited seeing a jetliner passing over NYC. Didn't they see the F-16s accompanying it?

This "political correctness hysteria" is getting out of hand. From what we just read, all the relevant authorities were informed about the overflight, including the NYPD and mayor's office. If at all, it was the responsibility of the NYC mayor's office to inform the citizenry of the city about what is going to happen and see to it that people will not get worried. Why didn't they?

Every time someone gets excited, offended or whatever - someone has to be sacrified to please the crowds. It is a shame! ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Bigjake46 | May 8, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

The WH had no clue that the spotting of a plane followed a fighter jet would freak out New Yorkers. That show this adminstration has no clue what went on in New York on 9/11. The attitude is get over it. No matter how much the speak of empathy, they have no clue. They think they can handle terrorism as a police action. Obama also would eliminate new spending to buy advanced-generation sensors to detect nuclear bombs or radioactive materials at U.S. ports and borders, a Bush priority that has had technical problems. So he thinks he can negotiate with terrorist supporting countries and close Gitmo to bring the terrorists to the US. They have no clue how to defend this country and how the people felt on 9/11.

Posted by: jschmidt2 | May 8, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Why does a pilot of Air Force One and even F-16 pilots need to practice an instrument approach to anywhere, much less Atlantic City, as the article states? This is standard practice for any competent pilot.

Posted by: tpwpny | May 8, 2009 9:35 PM
===========================================

Lol! You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried.

Think about how they stay current and qualified, lol! Like Edgar Casey, they sleep on the book and wake up with all the knowledge in their heads.

Posted by: williepete1 | May 8, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Big deal! Any idiot could see it was Air Force One with a USAF fighter on it's wing, lol! Get over it NY, apparently you no longer fear terrorist attacks--right? Obama is in charge now and he has made it safer for us all--and you hold the major responsibility for getting him elected--so? What are you so worried about?

The next attacks will be from the ground via mopeds driven by Gitmo "Friends of Obama" who he will soon release in a town near you. In NYC, you'll never see them coming! lmao!

Posted by: williepete1 | May 8, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Why does a pilot of Air Force One and even F-16 pilots need to practice an instrument approach to anywhere, much less Atlantic City, as the article states? This is standard practice for any competent pilot.

Posted by: tpwpny | May 8, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

No one should believe this guy resigned on his own after what happened with the GM CEO and after Obama stated for the press that he did not stand with the owner's of Chrysler to receive their fair share on their investment, which is the law.

Why are we so willing to accept the cost numbers and believe this man was a simple military guy. First, the numbers don't include the lost wages, the lost productivity by the businesses that were evacuated and how far other government agencies were put behind while having to deal with the folley. Was anyone one hurt? Did anyone with a bad heart have to go to the ER? Were there any anxiety attacks? Second, this guy who resigned was a democrat and worked for the Clinton administration.

Remember, Nixon called for resignations of two of his most favorite aids when the press got closer and closer to the Watergate coverup. While this episode may look trivial, all we got from Obama is, "I am sorry, it won't happen again. I am learning about it along with America." When Americans think of the most failed president in history, they think of Nixon, but as Nixon proved to us all, there was absoutely nothing that went on in and around the White House that he didn't know about. He knew everything and he did have unprecidented popularity, even higher than Obama, as congress began talking of impeachment.

The coverup is transparency and where was it when he signed the bill that no one read? He broke his promise and America let him off the hook. Come on everyone, he signed the bill with the Dodd Amendment and then turned around and acted outraged when AIG got their bonuses. He knew exactly what he was doing. We just can't prove it, because unlike Nixon, Obama doens't have the character to turn over transcripts of tape recordings for the American people. He just lies about it and someone gets fired. The story is building. Hats off to the press, mainly Fox, for staying on this issue and getting the person ousted that deserved it. However, if anyone thnks Obama didn't know about it, they are living in fairyland.

Posted by: Chris561_561 | May 8, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

seriously, though, flyovers are awesome!

Posted by: pinto1 | May 8, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Ulackinformation:

I think you heard wrong.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Does this story (and headline) keep changing?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I heard on WTOP that the flyover was an annual event. As in it happened during the last adminstration too. Where was all the hysteria then?

Posted by: UlackInformation | May 8, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

The person who authorized this should be sacked. Plain and simple. What kind of a moron wouldn't realize that such an overflight would cause widespread panic? If this were the bush administration the right wing radio would be calling the people who panicked wussies and telling them to get over it and the person who authorized it would wait six month, retire for personal reasons, and then be awarded a medal of freedom. Under the current administration this bonehead is gone.

Posted by: John1263 | May 8, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

DD163:

They've been dismissing this as a non-story (until someone was forced to resign at least). Can you imagine what the Bush haters would have done if this had happened last year? The hypocrisy is staggering.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

It's about time. On the other hand, if he had worked for Bush, he would have gotten the Medal of Freedom.

Posted by: Frigistan | May 8, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Same old same old. There is always a fall guy for these slimy politicians.
It is going to be the same with a torture investigation.
Just as well let it all go?

Posted by: bnw173 | May 8, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: pjglazer
The Republicans commenting on the waste...
--------------------------

..was just like the Democrats commenting on Bush...so whats your problem?

I suggest you don't throw stones if you live in a glass house

Posted by: DD163 | May 8, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

pjglazer:

I'm registered Independent.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

catmomtx:

I don't want to close down the White House. How about seeing if he can get by with only $1 BILLION per year though?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Adios, Louis!!!

Posted by: MajorConfusion | May 8, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans commenting on the waste, incompetence and expense of this routine publicity photo seem to have conveniently forgotten the past 8 years' worth of waste, incompetence and expense of the Bush administration. The only exception: Bush's waste and incompetence came at the expense of thousands of American lives. Your comments on this story are sad, pathetic, and ring hollow.

Posted by: pjglazer | May 8, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

pumor: while ignorant is a little hard, he is a political hack with no operational experience. It certainly showed in this instance. The sec of army worries about capabilities and requirements of the Army and has no operational role. The position of Director of the White House Military Office should be filled by a senior military officer with operational command experience. To put a lawyer or teacher in that position is like asking a lawyer to perform brain surgery.

Posted by: Phillip258 | May 8, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Instead of Obama apologizing, firing Caldera or saying the airline photo op will never happen again, it would be more encouraging to learn that Obama is thinking about the implications of this PR fiasco and taking the war on terror as seriously as New Yorkers do.

This war requires tough decisions, like those Bush made, to dismantle terror organizations from top to bottom. Obama has criticized his predecessor for using "terrorism as a club to make the American people afraid."

Well, as the Manhattan fiasco showed, Americans are afraid, but not because of Bush. Our new president should re-examine his attitude about 9/11 and realize that now, it's his war as much as it was Bush's.

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | May 8, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Caldera was about incompetent as Sec Army, and he's not much else at his White House job. For all of you who think he's the only one who knew about the stupid wasteful stunt, I have some seashore land to sell you in Phoenix.
This administration is full of incompetent nitwits. What an absolute joke the arrogant empty suit Obama is. An outrageous embarrassment.

Posted by: LarryG62 | May 8, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

How about we just close down the White House, I mean after all our tax dollars are going to support the President and his family and with all of the unemployment and the economy the way it is... Heaven forbid President Obama spend our tax dollars for anything.

No, how about people stop making a mountain out of a molehill. The decision to do this was not with President Obama who by the way DOES accept responsibility when he is wrong. The person who made the decision has resigned, end of story. This won't make people hate President Obama either. If you want a real issue to deal with how about dealing with an administration that broke the law by using torture.

Posted by: catmomtx | May 8, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

If the FAA made the decision to not inform the NYC public, seems heads should roll in that department too!

Posted by: dotellen | May 8, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

At this level, such a lack of common sense is deadly...
Sorry.
Good Bye.

Posted by: gpernot | May 8, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

To gsms69: The "ignorant political hack" is a West Point grad who served on active duty from 1978 to 1983 and was Secretary of the Army from 1998 to 2001. His bio is readily available, if you care to base your comments on facts.

Posted by: pumor | May 8, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Tempest in a teapot. Is this really worth all the attention it is getting? If it is, then I'm living in the wrong country. This reminds me of the poem, "The Rape of the Lock," by Alexander Pope, which, if memory serves me correctly, begins: What dire offense from amorous causes springs/What mighty contests rise from trivial things.

Posted by: bryan37 | May 8, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

It is an effin LIE that Bloomburg knew about the fly over. Something this important should not be left to chance.

http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=7441990

It is nice that someonne FINALLY stood up and took responsibility for this poorly thought out idea.

Too bad the President himself did man up to it. I find it hard to believe that, as controlling as Obama is , he had no idea this was going on.

If he didn't know he SHOULD have. And if the did know and allowed the good people of Manhattan to be traumatized for a photo that could have been created on a desktop he is beneath contempt.

And I will not even comment on the cost to the taxpayers for this sham.

Posted by: snowy2 | May 8, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Firing underlings won't do any good. This happened not because of Caldera, but because of a certain indifference at the top. Obama and his party have wrapped the war on terror around the persona of George W. Bush instead of the security of the U.S.

To them, fighting terror is fighting Bush's war, not stopping the terrorists still trying to kill us. This wasn't the only event that shows it.

On his first full day in office, Obama outraged 9/11 victims' families by drafting an order to suspend war crimes trials of prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay.

After that, he issued an order to close the Cuban prison, raising the prospects of 9/11-linked terrorists possibly walking free to do more harm.

He also ordered the release of CIA memos demonstrating tough interrogation tactics, showing that unlike the public with the airline flyover in Manhattan, terrorists had a right to know.

Now he's opened the door to prosecutions of Bush administration officials who fought the 9/11 terrorists, as if this were a matter of law and order, and not a real war that could still hit Manhattan.

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | May 8, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget about the use of an Air National Guard aircraft operating in Title 32 status as a participant in this event as well.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

BlueTwo1:

I guess you never heard of Claude Allen? Or seen that stunning AF1 photo flying over Mount Rushmore?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

We taxpayers spend more than $2 BILLION per year to run the White House and Obama keeps using Air Force One to excess during an economic "crisis". Can we afford these costs anymore?

http://theintrepid.blogspot.com/2008/11/how-much-does-it-cost-to-operate-white.html

Shouldn't he show some fiscal leadership and stay closer to home while all Americans are suffering? Maybe tell his wife not to talk about all the hundreds of White House staff helping her out too?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Here's something that never happened under the Cheeney-Bush regency: an official makes a mistake and is discharged. Flying a commercial-looking jet aircraft being "chased" by military jet aircraft (over the city that had only recently been attacked by commercial aircraft) for the purpose of taking a pretty picture. Besides the expense, what were they thinking? This was a national security, eyes only, DOD secret military mission? In no way was it. Right wingers assume Obama dreamed up the idea to glory in the emotive photographs that would result. I'd bet it was a military "training" mission dreamed up in the Pentagon. The old fotos don't do justice to the plane that POTUS rides around in.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | May 8, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

The White House Military Office has always been led by a military officer from the Pentagon, A-political. Mr. Obama was advised to keep it that way. No, he put one of his political ignorant hacks in there and Bam. What a mess

Posted by: gsms69 | May 8, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Does it look like that ferry is turning AWAY from the dock in an evasive maneuver?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

The White House Military Office has always been led by a military officer from the Pentagon, A-political. Mr. Obama was advised to keep it that way. No, he put one of his political ignorant hacks in there and Bam. What a mess

Posted by: gsms69 | May 8, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Here's a much better resolution version of the AF1 photo (click on the "zoom" icon in the lower right-hand corner):

http://static.cbslocal.com/station/wcbs/img/flyover.jpg

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

And how long do you suppose it will take Caldera to have a cushy high paying job supplied by an Obama buddy?
And if the last 100 days are any indication, I'd bet we the taxpayers will be paying Calera!

Posted by: mseso | May 8, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

10 to 1, Michelle was onboard snapping away with her Brownie.

Posted by: nikosd99 | May 8, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

It really should be the people that were on the April 3 conference call. Louis Caldera (Director) and George Mulligan (Deputy Director) were not on the call but the members of their office, the FAA, and NYC officials. There was to be information made available to the “general public” two days before the flyover. This never happend and I am sorry but Mr. Caldera is taking the fall for others that failed to do their jobs. The “flyover” report is not yet complete.

Joe

Posted by: JoeSmith3 | May 8, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

That photo is not even very attractive. The water looks like mud, and the Statue of Liberty is too small. If the other photos look like this, then the money would have been wasted in any event, even if people had been scared out of their wits.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | May 8, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Statement from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:

The President has accepted the resignation of Louis Caldera as Director of the White House Military Office. Attached is Mr. Caldera's resignation letter. Also attached is a report sought by the President and conducted by Jim Messina, deputy chief of staff, and a photo.

The President has asked his Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina and Defense Secretary Gates or his designee to jointly review the organizational structure of the White House Military Office and the reporting relationship of its components to the White House and the Air Force, and to make recommendations to him to ensure that such an incident never occurs again.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

bjuhasz or nodebris:

Do you STILL think this is a non-story?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

For everyone else, here's Caldera's resignation letter:

http://www.abcnews.go.com/images/Blotter/CalderaLetter.pdf

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

mark77:

You haven't read the White House Counsel's memo, have you? The FAA advised NYC officials to NOT inform the public.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Obama is the chief. it's his responsibility. This is typical Democratic governing. Obama wanted the pic, Caldera obliged and was thrown under the bus.

Posted by: askgees | May 8, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

it's to bad the mayor's office nor the nyc police couldn't do their jobs of telling the people of ny about the flight over by af 1 like they were supposed to do,with prior notice they might have enjoyed the event.

Posted by: mark77 | May 8, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Downtown Manhattan (especially after 9/11) is hardly a small Texas military town used to fly-bys. I doubt you would have cared to have been on the 60th floor of a skyscraper overlooking Battery Park when someone screamed: "There's a jet headed right for us!"

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

New Yorker's used to be a tough crowd, which have turned into a bunch of wimps. Can't take a aircraft buzzing?

Maybe we ought to issue PTSS (post-traumatic stress syndrome) funding as part of the next omnibus package?

Freakin' wimps, with a Mayor that can't fill three holes of where the WTC used to be.

Hey Bloomberg, it took only one year to build the Empire State Building. What's your excuse?

As they say in Texas, "All hat and no cattle."

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | May 8, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Phillip258:

When I heard that upwards of ONE MILLION New Yorkers self-evacuated their offices, etc., I was shocked to not hear about any injuries, heart attacks, nothing!

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

The White House counsel memo is fascinating reading.

'Secretary' Caldera (jeesh, when did we start using these lifelong pseudo-nobility titles in American political life?) comes off, fairly or not, as a typical air-headed Pointy-Haired Boss who will say "yeah, yeah, got it" one minute and "why didn't you tell me about this" the next. Not a good trait when you have a fast-lane White House job.

Caldera did make a truly class move (probably his West Point training kicking in) when he instantly took responsibility rather than throwing the Air Force One guys under the bus. The flyboys cooked all this up and assured their bosses that it was all coordinated, but not a word in the press about any repercussions for them; no doubt the repercussions are indeed happening behind the scenes, but it's politically incorrect to publicly disparge "our troops".

Posted by: DupontJay | May 8, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Jake: That's what he says. I guess we must believe him. If that is the case, then he shouldn't be running a 7/11, yet alone running the White House Military Office. I don't blame him I blame the idiots who got rid of a war hero, flag officer who was running the WHMO and replacing him with a political hack, who was clearly over his head. Thank god no one died because of his inexperience. Bring back the professionals to run the office.

Posted by: Phillip258 | May 8, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

***I want to know why they decided they needed "promotional materials" for Air Force One in the first place***

treen -- a reporter said that the AF1 crew uses those photos for p.r. purposes and give them out to any and all they encounter. and this is something that those AF flyboys have been doing for years.

caldera isn't the only one who should go. that not a single objection was raised for this idiotic photo op tells me there's a frightening lack of common sense among those in positions of authority.

Posted by: mycomment | May 8, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Phillip258:

Maybe the problem is that he had two e-mail addresses and checked the other one more frequently?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

According to the WH Counsel memo, Caldera didn't remember the conversation with his deputy...but didn't deny that it happened. (Say what!!) That is he didn't deny that it happened after his deputy provided the Counsel's office with an email that proved that the conversation happened. It is clear that Caldera was trying to blame his deputy until that point. An then his bs story about he didn't read the email for three days... what??? you don't remember having a conversation with your deputy about a fly over and you don't read emails from your deputy??? You are the operational commander of the White House Military Office and you don't read your emails for three days??? You should never have been appointed to that job!!!

Posted by: Phillip258 | May 8, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Cover up Cover up Cover up
Where's Inspector Clouseau errr Waxman when you need him.

I could have saved the taxpayers 300,000 dollars by making a photoshop version that would actually look better than the real thing.
I see some flair in the picture, better position could have made a more dramatic photo and it needs a more pop.

This is the government RIP OFF that you see. I know there's a LOT you don't see.

Posted by: ekim53 | May 8, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

From the "Conclusions & Recommendations" section of the memo:

"... WHMO's general structure ... should be examined. We recommend a comprehensive study resulting in recommendations to the President regarding these structural issues."

There must also be more (and better quality) photos.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

"The Whitw House official who APPROVED......resigned..."

Caldera approved the flight?

Who was the prime mover
for this escapade?

Whose idea was it?

Certainly not Louis Caldera.

Whoever was the prime mover of this folly
should resign for wasting
the $350K plus, stupidly endangering all involved in the photo-op and terrorizing Manhattan.

Will this incident be for Obama what "Mission Accomplished" was for Bush and the "blue dress" was for Clinton?

We are waiting for the release
of the names of those on board the plane other than the crew.

QUO WARRANTO!

Posted by: Concerned14 | May 8, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Canton55:

Have YOU read the White House Counsel's memo? The FAA ended up advising NYC to not inform the public. Also, I'm not only concerned about the DoD costs. What about the "cost" to NYC?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

But, Joe, didn't you read Scott Wilson's UPDATE: "Caldera's resignation and the release of the internal review essentially concludes what has been an aggravating and embarrassing event ..."?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse


Events like this certainly make you wonder how many expenditures similar to this exist and are completely forgotten in the Federal budget?

$357,000 here, a couple of hundred thousand there, and soon you're probably talking about some serious coin that's better off in my pocket instead of some oil sheik's...

Where does a sheik keep his money anyway?


Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | May 8, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

(1) sort-of-truth-one: While all-in-all it was a bad idea, in all reality the flight didn't cost a dime. They are flying flight hours and using fuel that was already purchased in a previously approved budget. That's how things work. The overall DOD budget wouldn't change a bit.

(2) sort-of-reality-two: It sounds like the Air Force and the White House office asked for permission from the FAA and the NYC police. It's not like the Air Force would know how to inform the people of Manhatten--that's why they go through the NYPD. Sounds like it is easier to blame the agencies in DC than the communication problems in NYC.

(3) sure it was a bad idea, but everything isn't as it seems.

Posted by: Canton55 | May 8, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

According to the WH Counsel memo, Caldera didn't remember the conversation with his deputy...but didn't deny that it happened. (Say what!!) That is he didn't deny that it happened after his deputy provided the Counsel's office with an email that proved that the conversation happened. It is clear that Caldera was trying to blame his deputy until that point. An then his bs story about he didn't read the email for three days... what??? you don't remember having a conversation with your deputy about a fly over and you don't read emails from your deputy??? You are the operational commander of the White House Military Office and you don't read your emails for three days??? You should never have been appointed to that job!!!

Posted by: Phillip258 | May 8, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

cgillard:

If you are on the 60th floor of a skyscraper, trust me, you don't wait to verify the contact when someone screams: "There's a jet headed right for us!"

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Just how far into paranoia are we going to go?? The people of New York suffered 9/11 but in those people's memory millions of people around Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan have been sufffering daily. I think an Air Force One flyover does not compare with bombs on a wedding party or Predators droning overhead to rain down hellfire and damnation missiles. After the havoc Wall Street has wreaked on the world this little panic attack rates rather low.

Posted by: cgillard | May 8, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

It really should be the people that were on the April 3 conference call. Louis Caldera (Director) and George Mulligan (Deputy Director) were not on the call but the members of their office, the FAA, and NYC officials. There was to be information made available to the “general public” two days before the flyover. This never happend and I am sorry but Mr. Caldera is taking the fall for others that failed to do their jobs. The “flyover” report is not yet complete.

Joe

Posted by: JoeSmith3 | May 8, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I predicted he'd be the scapegoat:


Flashback: April 28th...


THAT BIZARRE, SADISTIC AIR FORCE ONE 9/11-ESQUE FLYOVER:

STUPIDITY -- OR A DEVIOUSLY CLEVER COVER STORY FOR A FOILED PLOT?


Think about it: "Terrorists" hijack the backup Air Force One. It's flown into a lower Manhattan office tower. Thousands perish. When it is revealed that Al Qaeda has struck again, the global war on terror resumes with a vengeance -- with the President who hoped to bring world peace unwittingly cast as the new "W."

But what if word of the "plot" leaked out?

Well... revert to the cover story. Go through with the fly-over (after giving local law enforcement a secret heads-up). When terrorized New Yorkers cry foul, claim it was just an ill-advised photo shoot. Make the "fall guy" a former secretary of the Army, the first Hispanic to serve in that capacity. Get him to "admit" culpability, and hope no one questions the irrationality of the explanation.

Of course, we all know that this is America, and something so Machiavellian, so malevolent, could never happen here. Never.


http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | May 8, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Concerned14:

Caldera specifically denied "approving" the flight.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

abqcleve and Frazil:

Sorry, I was reading the WH memo -- I would suggest you do the same before you keep spouting nonsense -- the FAA specifically advised NYC officials to not disclose the flight to the public.

BTW: what do you think the cost would be to evacuate 1 million New Yorkers?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

We are waiting for the release
of the names of those on board the plane other than the crew.

QUO WARRANTO!

Posted by: Concerned14 | May 8, 2009 5:58 PM
****************

Seems to me if Cheney doesn't have to tell which oil execs he conspired with early in his administration, you're never going to learn who was on AF1.

Posted by: abqcleve | May 8, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

No need or intent to defend Caldera, but on the day of the incident, he acknowledged personal responsibility for it. He's a West Point grad who served from '78 to '83. He was Clinton's Sect. of the Army. Has had lots of other responsible assignments and was certainly qualified for this job. He took responsibility, but it sure looks to me as though Bloomberg hung him out to dry. Such is politics.

Posted by: abqcleve | May 8, 2009 5:50 PM

***************************************************************
I'm sure that he is a smart guy; but he held staff positions and the Director of the White House Military Office is an operational position that should be run by someone with operational experience. He was very definitely NOT QUALIFIED to run it as his total lack of judgement shows. Not to mention his complete arrogance in not telling his boss about the overflight as was suggested by his deputy on more than one occasion.

Posted by: Phillip258 | May 8, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

"The White House official who APPROVED.....
resigned....."

Caldera approved it?

But who was the prime mover
for this escapade?

Whose idea was it?

Certainly not Louis Caldera.

More likely the public relations
puppet master who created the Fantasyman was behind
another Obama public relations extravaganza!

The incident smacks of campaigning at which this administration excels, not governing.

The puppet master should resign for wasting
the $350K plus, stupidly endangering all involved in the photo-op and terrorizing Manhattan & New Jersey.

Will this be Obama's undoing like the"blue dress" was for Clinton?

We are waiting for the release
of the names of those on board the plane other than the crew.

QUO WARRANTO!

Posted by: Concerned14 | May 8, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse


i think obama should resign.

after all.. it was his staff that was responsible. doesn't the buck stop with him?

oh wait... i almost forgot. obama can do no wrong. he's the chosen one.

Posted by: DriveByPoster | May 8, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"The FAA notified New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office, the U.S. Park Police, the New York Police Department and other local agencies three days before the flight, Gates wrote in the letter."

Wait a minute. If the WHMO informed the mayor, U.S Park Police, NYPD, and other local agencies, why did't they alert the people of New York. Don't they bear some of the responsiblility. New York has recieved millions of taxpayer's money from Bushes Department of Homeland Security to upgrade their emergency notification system to alert the public of incidents that my concern them. Why didn't they use the system we paid for?

Posted by: Frazil | May 8, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

The NYC mayor's office and police dept. knew about this 3 days beforehand and did not inform the public? Isn't that their job? How about someone in Bloomberg's office and the police dept. resign? Seems these people screwed up more than the WH.

Posted by: saralorenz | May 8, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Resigning is the right thing to do after making such a boneheaded blunder. Can you imagine the lack of compassion it would take to not foresee how New Yorkers would feel?

I love Obama. I'm glad that his administration takes responsibility for its actions. That level of integrity was sorely missing under Bush.

Posted by: martiniano | May 8, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

JakeD: would "That cost does not even take into account the disruption to NYC from upwards of ONE MILLION self-evacuations" refer to plumbing and laundry costs? I didn't realize NY'ers were such chicken wings.....

Posted by: abqcleve | May 8, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Bubbette1:

Yes.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

The real story here is that after years of having very competent, senior military officers run WHMO, a political hack is selected. Also note in the WH counsel memo that he immediately tried to throw his deputy under the bus. When that didn't work, he had no choice but to resign. The truth is that Caldera was overmatched in the job; it also doesn't take a lot of common sense to understand that the White House Military Office should be run by a military officer and not be a political appointment.

Posted by: Phillip258 | May 8, 2009 5:35 PM
***************

No need or intent to defend Caldera, but on the day of the incident, he acknowledged personal responsibility for it. He's a West Point grad who served from '78 to '83. He was Clinton's Sect. of the Army. Has had lots of other responsible assignments and was certainly qualified for this job. He took responsibility, but it sure looks to me as though Bloomberg hung him out to dry. Such is politics.

Posted by: abqcleve | May 8, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

What happened to the "Buck Stops Here"? Shouldn't BO resign over this? Maybe BO is a kind of do as I say kind of guy. Seems to be that way with vetting. He holds the White House appointees to a higher standard than he does himself.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | May 8, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

thegoalie47:

I'm withholding judgment until I can confer with scrivener50 ; )

Phillip258:

Thanks!

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

JDVough:

That cost does not even take into account the disruption to NYC from upwards of ONE MILLION self-evacuations. If you are on the 60th floor of a skyscraper, trust me, you don't wait to verify the contact when someone screams: "There's a jet headed right for us!"

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

JakeD: I do believe it is a reflection from the canopy, but I could be wrong. What is your take on it?

Posted by: thegoalie47 | May 8, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Phillip258 | May 8, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Phillip258:

Do you have a link to the WH counsel memo?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

The costs that are cited by critics unreasonably assume that the amount of time the Air Force used the planes for this mission would not have been used doing normal flight training, readiness drills, or other duties.
It is also unreasonable to assume people on the ground in a major United States metropolitan area, would be frightened of an airliner that clearly has BRIGHT BLUE US military markings all over it.
With 300 million people in the the US there will be a small percentage who can't use common sense to reason things like this out. Our media is supposed to be able to filter out those people, not give them a bigger voice.

Posted by: JDVough | May 8, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

mzbond:

You've obviously never been on the 60th floor of a NYC skyscraper.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Caldera should not be the only one to resign.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 5:28 PM
--------------
I agree

Bo! tender your resignation sir.

Posted by: hayden1 | May 8, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

The real story here is that after years of having very competent, senior military officers run WHMO, a political hack is selected. Also note in the WH counsel memo that he immediately tried to throw his deputy under the bus. When that didn't work, he had no choice but to resign. The truth is that Caldera was overmatched in the job; it also doesn't take a lot of common sense to understand that the White House Military Office should be run by a military officer and not be a political appointment.

Posted by: Phillip258 | May 8, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Well, no one seems to notice how low the aircraft are when coming and going from Kennedy Intl, or LaGuardia. It's NYC a big to-do about nothing. Clearly, the plane was high enough for them not to see Air Force One and the American Flag writtin all over it. Punker New Yorkers

Posted by: mzbond | May 8, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Another New Mexican bites the dust. About three years ago, we had a state legislator who got the National Guard to do a flyover for the opening of a Roswell car dealership. Took nearly a year for the story to even get reported. "Flyover Foley" (no, not THAT one) got re-elected anyway. Took almost as much in campaign money as the flight ($230,000) to defeat him next time around.

Posted by: dotellen | May 8, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Caldera should not be the only one to resign.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Caldera is a stuffed shirt with a West Point and Harvard Law degree. He was one of the biggest pricks of the Clinton administration. This couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.

Posted by: ajlerner1 | May 8, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

thegoalie47:

Are you sure that's just a "reflection from the fighter's canopy"?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

not a bad photo but you would think the photographer for $300,000 would at least not get his window reflection in the picture.

Oh well...a little airbrushing on Photoshop, tweak the contrast and brightness, alter the hue and saturation, and bing-bang-bong you got yourself a promo pic for who knows what.

Posted by: hayden1 | May 8, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Downtown Manhattan (especially after 9/11) is hardly a small Texas town used to fly-bys. I doubt you would have cared to have been on the 60th floor of a skyscraper overlooking Battery Park when someone screamed: "There's a jet headed right for us!"

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

This is what you get for $380,000? Part of the fighters cockpit is in the picture, the reflection from the fighters canopy is in the picture...shouldn't the New York skyline be in the picture as well? Also, as another poster pointed out, the altitude appears to high in this photo compared to the fly by May 1. This picture is crap...they got nothing better? They buzzed the city 3 times.

Posted by: thegoalie47 | May 8, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

That entire office should be closed down. It serves no useful purpose and is a waste of money.

Posted by: proteusdecision | May 8, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Honesty, responsibility, accountability, and consequences! Haven't seen that since the year 2000.

No wonder torturers and war profiteers are so very afraid.

Posted by: Hans1924 | May 8, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

scrivener50:

What do you make of that white glowing light shining down on the AF1 cockpit?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

When I was a kid B-52s would conduct low level training missions over my small Texas town. It was the most exciting thing for me when that happened. I don't think I would have been scared by this flyover. I would have loved to see it. True to the Obama tradition though, somebody has to go under the bus.

Posted by: brewstercounty | May 8, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

In an extraordinary gesture of bipartianship by Obama because congressional Republicans are just so darn helpful, Obama invites W. from his toney Dallas neighborhood back to DC to award Medal of Freedom to Caldera.

Posted by: Patriot3 | May 8, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

dastubbs:

No joke -- I've always been a fiscal conservative -- and I am not a Republican either.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse


Good.


Posted by: DagnyT | May 8, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

hayden1:

You missed today's BREAKING NEWS about Michelle Obama going for a hamburger!

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:40 PM
--------------
Nope...I was on top of it.

Besides biochemistry, politics is my other true love...just don't tell my wife.

Posted by: hayden1 | May 8, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Quoting JakeD:

Shouldn't he show some fiscal leadership and stay closer to home while all Americans are suffering? Maybe tell his wife not to talk about all the hundreds of White House staff helping her out too?

====================

This is a joke, right?

Eight years of George Bush and six years of a republican Congress eradicated the Clinton era surplus and spent us into oblivion.

All of sudden NOW they want to pretend they're fiscal conservatives.

Republicans can't seem to understand why we're laughing at them.

DAStubbs,
Minneapolis

Posted by: dastubbs | May 8, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

This is just a ceremonial suicide to protect the people who really called the shots on this. What an amazing coincidence that the report and the resignation all came out late on a Friday when nobody cares. For a guy who claimed to be all about accountability and transparency, Obama sure does an amazing Nixon impression.

Posted by: zippyspeed | May 8, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for resigning - it was the right thing to do.

Posted by: beegrace123 | May 8, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Why does the WHite House think it needs publicity photos and videos???

Posted by: swatkins1 | May 8, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Resign for screwing up? If this were the Bush Administration, he'd be getting a Presidential Medal of Honor.

Posted by: Renu1 | May 8, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

theaz:

Thanks for the link : )

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

rexsolomon:

That wouldn't have helped anyone trapped on their burning floor.

unojklhh1:

Karl Rove never made a "Louis Caldera" type mistake. Next red herring?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Here the picture released, I think it looks like it flying at a higher altitude then in fact was the case that day.

I wonder if anyone can magnify to see the people running on Liberty Island that day?

http://www.nypost.com/seven/05082009/photos/af_photo.jpg


Posted by: theaz | May 8, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Why is noone upset with Mayor Bloomberg's office? We have had several special military flight pattern events in the DC area since 9/11, but each time there have been PSAs on radio stations to help notify the public. Why was this not done by NYC officials?

Posted by: jmhii | May 8, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I think it's probably save to assume this guy wasn't the only guy who knew AF1 would be used for a cheap photo op! If he was then Obama has a lot worse problems on his hands... like some mid-level staffer can launch nulcear missiles or something... http://www.UpYoursObama.com/

Posted by: UpYoursObama | May 8, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

RareCaliConservative:

Thank you for putting it into perspective -- over $2 BILLION per year to run this White House is way too much -- but, may I pitch another political party as an alternative, for those who are social conservatives as well?

http://www.aipca.org/

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

New Yorkers are just as afraid as anyone of becoming trapped in a high-rise building fire.

Sadly Obama and Bush have taken no action on the Final Recommendation #20 of the official World Trade Center Disaster Investigation to implement the necessary 'next generation technology' (i.e. skyscraperevac.com) so that people will never, ever be forced to jump from burning buildings - regardless if the cause of the fire is terrorism or accidental.

The White House official did NOT have to resign, but unfortunately Obama needs a sacrificial lamb. New Yorkers are acting like frightened-witless cavemen at the sight of a low flying passenger jet? Come on! Address the REAL issue for New Yorkers fear. Entrapment in a building fire.

Posted by: rexsolomon | May 8, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

This guy resigns over one mistake. Look at the dozens, if not hundreds, of Bush administration officials who committed FAR worse offenses and stayed in office and were often rewarded for committing their offenses.

Does anyone think Karl Rove would have resigned if he'd made Louis Caldera's dumb mistake?

Posted by: unojklhh1 | May 8, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Do you remember when the standard of living in America was the best in the world?
Today it is doubtful if our children will be better off than we are. Today, buying a decent home is no more than a dream for many hard-working American families.

Something has caused your family's budget to be cut. Something is going to destroy your family's future unless you act to stop it.

That something is the Federal government and its policy of taxation and inflation. Let's take a look at a median income family of four in the 1950s. At that time, the Federal income tax amounted to only 2 percent of the family budget. Americans enjoyed the highest standard of living in the world.

By contrast, in the 1990s, the Federal income tax takes 25 percent of income for the same family of four. Taxes at all levels -- federal, state, and local; hidden and visible -- take about 50 percent of a family's income. We must work from January to June just to pay taxes.

It now requires two paychecks to keep many families from going bankrupt. Typically, a working mother brings home 32 percent of a family's income.

So, whether she chooses to work -- or must work to make ends meet -- taxes have stolen her contribution to the family budget. In other words, one spouse now works all year just to pay taxes.

Ask yourself: Is the government spending that half of your income wisely?

During those same years, the government has increased the money supply -- producing inflation. Whether the inflation rate is 12 percent or 3 percent, the result is the same: groceries cost more; clothing costs more; your car costs more. You work harder every year for less purchasing power.

The Federal government is driving your family into bankruptcy.

The government hasn't stopped there. They have borrowed so much money that your children will be sacrificing their entire economic lives to pay the Federal debt.

It seems that no matter who we elect to public office, the government budget gets bigger and the family budget gets smaller.

All too often we have only two choices in an election: a Democrat or a Republican. And no matter which one you vote for, you get higher taxes, bigger deficits, and broken promises.

There is Hope for Your Family

There is a political party that believes the family budget is more important than the Federal budget. A political party that is working to restore the hopes and dreams of every hard-working American family.

It is the Libertarian Party.

Just check us out. It's better than not knowing what we are about.

http://www.lp.org/

Posted by: RareCaliConservative | May 8, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Hi, gbooksdc, how have you been?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Scott Wilson:

Who told you that the resignation and release of the review "essentially concludes" this matter? Or, did you come up with that all by yourself?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

hayden1:

You missed today's BREAKING NEWS about Michelle Obama going for a hamburger!

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:40 PM
________________________________________

I didn't, I was there! It was fun, and the hamburger is one of the best I've ever had. I strongly recommend it.

Posted by: gbooksdc | May 8, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I could have done all this for half the price they paid the U.S. Air Force using Paint.NET program or Adobe PhotoShop 6.

Don't listen to anyone saying they could do it for a lot less using the same software art program.
Not the same quality.

Posted by: Tempest1 | May 8, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

ImpeachObama:

I understand training exercises. Perhaps if they buzzed your workplace, you would understand the objection of upwards to ONE MILLION who self-evacuated?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm more troubled by flying Air Force 1 to Iowa to celebrate Earth Day.

Posted by: ah___ | May 8, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Gee, has it been only 16 years since a new president blamed the "White House Travel Office" for his shortcomings?

Posted by: FloridaFan | May 8, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

What no one seems to realize is that those planes have to fly in any case so that the pilots may log their hours.

This just goes to show you that New Yorkers are a bunch of poosies.

Posted by: ImpeachObama | May 8, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Scott:

Thanks for the update (do you have a link to the official report?).

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

For everyone (other than hayden1 and nodebris):

Can we afford these costs anymore?

http://theintrepid.blogspot.com/2008/11/how-much-does-it-cost-to-operate-white.html

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

hayden1:

You missed today's BREAKING NEWS about Michelle Obama going for a hamburger!

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade:

You would agree, at least, that something went seriously wrong if someone has to resign over the incident, right?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

OK now everyone lets get back to the Obama's hamburger Dijon mustard discussion, because that is the root of all the world's problems.

Posted by: hayden1 | May 8, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Louis Caldera has RESIGNED as Director of the White House Military Office.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

It wouldn't be very good legal advice at that (e.g. yelling "FIRE!" is permissible).

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Fairlington Blade:

If officials knew the act would cause panic, as they did, and, with knowledge aforethought, allowed it to happen anyway, then they, by intent or by gross negligence, facilitated a terrorist act.

Their "knowledge aforethought" is the basis for the statement.

Like crying "FIRE!" in a crowded theater is not just speech, but a terroristic act.

(The above is personal opinion and should not be relied upon as legal advice...)

Posted by: scrivener50 | May 8, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

That's a pretty wide definition of "terrorist act" there Scrivener. It just has one itsy problem. A terrorist act, by definition, is designed to cause terror. That wasn't the intent here. You might as well argue that a power failure in the subway is a terrorist act, because it will spook some people.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 8, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Don't "yawn" too long, or you will miss this mentioned on EVERY Sunday talk show.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:

All is forgiven. You are the new Bob Woodward.

By the way... where IS Bob Woodward these days? When will he "work the leads" served up in this space?

Jake, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship...

Posted by: scrivener50 | May 8, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Yawn.

Posted by: nodebris | May 8, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

This is something I haven't seen reported yet (there was another aircraft involved):

"... I am concerned about the use of an Air National Guard aircraft operating in Title 32 status as a participant in this event. I have asked the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffto ensure that the Military Service and National Guard Bureau procedures for such activities include appropriate safeguards, checks and balances to ensure missions ofthis type are properly reviewed, vetted and announced in the future."

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

bjuhasz:

I take it you never "buzzed" Manhattan with your B-52? I heard that up to a million people were impacted.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

FIRST, A 'PHOTO OP.'

THEN, A 'TRAINING COMPONENT.'

NOW, INJECT ATLANTIC CITY INTO THE UNFOLDING EXPLANATION.

THIS FLIGHT CAUSED TERROR IN THE STREETS OF NEW YORK.

WHATEVER THE INTENT, IT WAS A TERRORIST ACT. OFFICIALS KNEW IT WOULD CAUSE ALARM, YET NO ONE OBJECTED.

SERIOUS QUESTIONS REMAIN:

WHAT DID THE PRESIDENT'S SECURITY TEAM AND MILITARY WING KNOW OF THIS MISSION, WHEN DID THEY KNOW IT...

...AND WHY WERE TOP WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS KEPT IN THE DARK?


The question few in Washington power circles dare to ask:

Did those in the know go ahead with this flight because an ulterior motive for a covert mission involving this aircraft was exposed...

...forcing officials to go ahead with a flight they knew would cause panic -- reverting to a "cover story" about a "photo op" and "Atlantic City" flight training?

Will the trusting souls in the White House Press Corps break away from their dinner planning for a moment to ponder these questions?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

Posted by: scrivener50 | May 8, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

If the results of the Caldera inquiry are being released on a Friday, and it's already after 3 pm, I suspect that the bum is going to keep his job.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | May 8, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

This whole incident is one of the biggest non=stories I have heard in a long line of non-stories by the media. I am an ex USAF pilot so I have some experience with how the Air Force works. We used to fly all sorts of planes to air shows on a regular basis. Any flight of any aircraft is always useful as a training excercise, so there is no such thing as simply spending money on a photo opp.

I primarilly flew B-52s. Every mission that I flew cost approximately $250,000, though I am sure the cost is much higher today. If we flew to a airshow, we got flying time on the way there and back. Sure it cost money but we also got necessary training on the way. Believe it or not, the crew of Air Force One does not det a huge amount of flying time. Obama does not fly every day, but the crew still needs to fly nearly every day if they want to be prepared to fly safely. The mission over NYC must have involved some unusual challenges for the pilots (low altitude formation flying over an urban area), that could be invaluable to them in the future.

There is no such thing as enough training for a pilot, and every mission, especially one that is markedly different than the routine, is an opportunity to learn new skill or practice old ones.

Posted by: bjuhasz | May 8, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I want to know why they decided they needed "promotional materials" for Air Force One in the first place. You promote a product when you're trying to sell it. What, exactly, is the product being promoted here? Are people going to be able to buy tickets to ride on Air Force One or something, and we're going to see commercials about it? How stupid can you get with this reasoning!

Posted by: treen | May 8, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

This should be exciting (just in time for the Sunday talk shows). We taxpayers spend more than $2 BILLION per year to run the White House and Obama keeps using Air Force One to excess during an economic "crisis". Shouldn't he show some fiscal leadership and stay closer to home while all Americans are suffering? Maybe tell his wife not to talk about all the hundreds of White House staff helping her out too?

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

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