The $357,000 photo

Worth every penny, baby. Cost of psychological damage to me and the rest of New York not included.

Louis Caldera, the White House official who approved the flight, is now nestled snugly alongside Rev. Wright, Father Pfleger, and about 20 other people under the Messiah’s bus. Culprit or fall guy? Here’s what Cheney told Scott Hennen yesterday:

Hennen: Our guest, former Vice President Dick Cheney on the Scott Hennen Show and The Common Sense Club today. By the way, there is an incredible double standard here in the media coverage. Is that frustrating to you at all? I look at the recent flap over the photo opportunity for Air Force One above New York City, and I imagine had that happened — not that it ever would — in the Bush administration, how the media would have hyperventilated over that forever! And it’s been forgotten. We’re led to believe somehow the President was mad about it. Is it possible for the White House Military Office now under a political appointee, different from your administration when it was a military officer that held that post, that the White House or some high-level staff didn’t know about that?

Cheney: I would assume that some senior staffer signed off on that. Especially a mission with, with in effect what is the backup for Air Force One, there are two of those planes, big 747’s. Either one can function as Air Force One anytime the President is on it. I used them a couple of times during our administration for special trips. You know, they don’t turn a wheel without a lot of people knowing about it and signing off and approving it. A pilot can’t just go out there and get on board and take it for a spin.

I guess Caldera counts as a “senior staffer.” If you want to read the memo, here’s the PDF via Drudge.