Air Force Dumb Genius Gets New Job

Louis Caldera to focus on higher education and national security

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's former aide Louis Caldera, who resigned after authorizing a costly and frightening Air Force One photo-op over New York City, is flying higher today.

He has been hired by longtime Democratic activist John Podesta at the Center for American Progress, where he will be a senior fellow and will focus on higher education and national security, the center announced Thursday.

Podesta, president and CEO of American Progress, is a former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton and was a co-chairman of Obama's transition team. Caldera worked for the Clinton administration as managing director and chief operating officer for the Corporation for National and Community Service and was secretary of the Army.

Caldera resigned from the Obama administration under fire last month as the administration tried to move past the embarrassing flyover that sent panicked New York City workers rushing into the streets amid flashbacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The White House released the findings of an internal review that portrayed Caldera as out of the loop in a cycle of missed messages and questionable judgments as plans for the photo shoot proceeded. An administration official said the purpose of the photo op was to update file photos of the president's plane near the Statue of Liberty.

The sight of the huge passenger jet and an F-16 fighter plane whizzing past the Statue of Liberty and the lower Manhattan financial district caused an uproar. Obama reportedly was angry and called it "a mistake ... and it will not happen again." New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called it "insensitive" to fly so near the site of the World Trade Center attacks.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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