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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?


bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
ilanac-was Frost/Nixon good? I really want to see it!
stephley stephley 8 years
And it was Nixon's erroneous understanding of the President's authority that caused his downfall.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
based on Frost/Nixon - when you're the president - it's legal (or it's not illegal) - i can't remember the full quote. in any event, i'm not surprised by this turn of events..
prrrtykittie prrrtykittie 8 years
Oh dear. The Bushes are so petty. At least Obama's the better man and you know he turns his nose up at this kind of behaviour. Now we have something better to look forward to.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Its not a "petty snub" although it will seem that way to anyone who hates the Bush's. Get over it already, Obama has.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
Of course it doesn't belong to the Bush's but it's their house right now and that means they don't have to say yes to anyone who invites themselves over. I also don't see a big lie anywhere. Laura said it would be unavailable. Is that a lie? If I don't want to go out on a date I might say I'm unavailable. If I stay home I'm not lying. I think it would have been nice for them to say yes, but they didn't and I guess I just see it as the Bush's right to refuse guests they don't want. Oh, and one more thing. Taking the W's from the computers was hilarious and it was done the night before the inauguration. We have yet to see what the pranksters will do this year. My understanding of it is that it's all in good fun.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
I guess, IMO, it is a house that belongs to our government, not the Bush's themselves. Also, I would think that a house owned by the White House would have appropriate accomodations for all of the secret service needs, etc. To lie just to deny the Obama's the ability to stay there even in light of the fact that he is the President-Elect is just wrong, IMO.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
I don't think Obama was in the wrong for asking and I don't think the Bushes were wrong for saying no. I guess I just don't see why this is so utterly outrageous.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
Just seems kind of silly to argue both sides of the argument. (something like) "He has been gracious, but this petty act doesn't really matter because he is the President and can do what he wants." That line of reasoning doesn't work for me. If he was truly gracious, he wouldn't impare the security or transition of the President elect like this. I do hope it isn't true. But if it is, I don't see how you can argue around the fact that it was childish and irresponsible.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
The Bushes have already starting packin and their SS got cut. We're almost there.
stephley stephley 8 years
By this time, two weeks from today, it'll all be just a bad memory... :clean: :clean: :clean: :cheer:
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
Stephley just imagine Malia and Sasha watching the Princess and the Frog in the White House screening room and all anger will go away.
sexylibrarian sexylibrarian 8 years
I think it just proves what kind of people the Bush's really are.
stephley stephley 8 years
SRSBDC, it's not a matter of Obama asking Bush to share the Oval Office or a limo - it is the government guest house. Look who Bush could 'accomodate': "President George W. Bush arranged for former first lady Nancy Reagan to stay at the house in 2004 and receive guests there following the state funeral for her husband, former president Ronald Reagan; the same was done for former first lady Betty Ford in 2006 following the state funeral of her husband, former president Gerald Ford." If Bush could come up with a legitimate reason for not opening Blair House to the Obamas I could understand - but they lied that it was booked, then booked it.
tiabia tiabia 8 years
I can't really make any sense of this...but what's done is done.
I looked up the general accounting office reports and I'm glad to hear that, that story was untrue. Notes taken. I still think Bush despite his many foibles, has been very gracious about this transition. Like it or not he is the president, and he doesn't really have to make any accommodations for the Obama's if he doesn't want to. Yet, he has allowed their staff much access. I'd have 11th hour parties there! That place is awesome!
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
AUSSIE! AUSSIE! AUSSIE! OY! OY! OY! I would have stood outside and chanted that all night long cause friendly Aussies always respond.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
I hope this is proven to be false just like the Clinton typewriter thing was. But...couldn't Howard have stayed at the White House? I understand they have a few guest rooms as well...
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
This story cracked me up a little. I hope it isn't true since the Bushes seem to have been so gracious in every other aspect of the transition.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
My initial feeling on this is to want to avoid jumping to conclusions on it. It just doesn't seem to fit with how gracious the Bushes have been in other aspects for the transition. If this is true, which it seems like it is, let history show Bush to be petty and Obama to be gracious. This really isn't that important in the grand scheme of things. I find it funny that this controversy erupts as I'm reading Team of Rivals and there are tons of references to Blair House!
stephley stephley 8 years
"is unlike the Clinton's, who's staffers removed all "W's" from their keyboards before the Bushes arrived and word is they mad it rather difficult for the new administration to move in and begin work." That was investigated and proved false about 8 years ago. Blair House is not rented out - it is the government guest house.
nguidjol nguidjol 8 years
Really SRSBDC, you call that gracious?
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
Whatev, I'm not worried about it. The Obamas will move into the White House soon enough.
Also, to my knowledge, the Blair house is not rented out per room it serves as a single residence when rented because of design, protocol, and security.
The Bushes have actually been very gracious about welcoming the Obamam's to Washington/the White House. Their staff has worked with the Obamam team to to ensure an efficient transition; which, is unlike the Clinton's, who's staffers removed all "W's" from their keyboards before the Bushes arrived and word is they mad it rather difficult for the new administration to move in and begin work.
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