The Presidency: A $650 Million Flying Palace

A $650 Million Flying Palace

George Bush's two new airplanes were first dreamed of in the 1960s and finally ordered in July 1986. They sit this winter like beached green whales on the frozen plains outside Wichita, two years overdue, $385 million over budget and gathering controversy like tumbleweed.

This future Air Force One is already being called a "flying Taj Mahal." The two Boeing 747-200Bs are included in the contract of $265 million, a cost now swollen to nearly $650 million, with Boeing and its shareholders stuck for the loss. Throw in an additional $50 million for the new hangar already constructed at Andrews Air...