Supposedly it was all a photo op to get a new shot of Air Force One flying near the Statue of Liberty. Let's not ask why such a photo was necessary. Let's just assume it was for the gift shop and not for a Craigslist ad selling the old Air Force One so they can replace it with a hot-air balloon.
But one question did occur to Arthur Korant, co-founder and creative director of Double Platinum, New York. Putting aside all the issues of government incompetence and the terrorizing of New Yorkers, why would the government spend so much money on something that could just as easily be accomplished with Photoshop?
So he drafted up the accompanying ad, which reads in part: "U.S. government cost: $328,835; doubleplatinum.biz cost: $1,990; savings to taxpayer: $326,845." (A footnote at the bottom reads: "Includes stock photography and retouching and nobody had to duck and run.")
Korant was struck by the cost of the photo op. He crafted the ad after co-founder and Client Services Director Stephanie Blackwood told him the cost. "With people suffering economically all over the country, what seems like a drop in the bucket here and there [to government officials] can add up to billions of dollars of waste." He added, "Stephanie and I thought we could have a little fun and tweak the government, and at the same time make a strong point." So they sent the ad out to their friends in the business.
I asked Korant about the rate. "The rate is pretty good. I guessed the photo might be used for some promotional purpose . ... So I plugged that usage guess in to get the stock-photo rate for the Statue of Liberty photo. ... By the way, the quote is .006% of the cost of the flyover."
According to Blackwood, the government has yet to respond to their offer.