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No-Vacancy Mystery Solved: Ex Australian PM Usurps Obamas


Remember when the Bushes told the Obamas "no, you can't" when they requested to stay at the Blair House? The decline sent the incoming president into the frigid, Winter night to find lodging in a manger hotel. Fancy as it may be, Rachel Maddow led us to the overwhelming question "who is more important than the Obamas?" The answer came Tuesday from the Washington Post: John Howard, former prime minister of Australia, that's who.

Howard and his mates will stay at the Blair House on Jan. 12, the night (just. one. night.) before he, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bush. Blair and Uribe were also invited to stay but found their own rooms — Blair at the British Embassy (better cuppas, I'm sure) and Uribe in the vague warmth of "other accommodations."

But there's more! Back in December when the request was made, the White House would not say who or what was penciled in. And last night on Countdown With Keith Olbermann, it was reported that, at the time, it was no one. Awkward! Howard's arrangements were made after Obama's request, possibly to quiet the press when it came buzzing. Also, Laura's throwing some 11th-hour parties there. But, wouldn't you?

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