Obamas Nixed From Blair House By Former Aussie PM

January 7, 2009

From the Washington Post:

“The Obamas requested an early move-in at the 70,000-square-foot, 119-room mansion across the street from the White House so their children could settle in to start school this week at Sidwell Friends School. But the incoming first family was told the residence had been booked, so they took a suite at the Hay-Adams.

At the time, the White House would not say which events were bumping the Obamas.”

Well, now we know. The reason the Obamas couldn’t stay at the Blair house was because John Howard is booked to stay there. For a single night.

“The only overnight visitor at the presidential guest manse is none other than John Howard, a former Australian prime minister and leading member of President Bush’s coalition of the willing in Iraq.

Howard and his entourage will be bunking at Blair House on Jan. 12, the night before he, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe are to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bush, said Sally McDonough, a spokeswoman for first lady Laura Bush.”

Apparently it would’ve been a huge deal to ask the former prime minister of Australia to stay elsewhere for one night to make way for the president-elect of the United States. The Bush administration certainly had made it known how disgusted they were by the request:

” A White House source added that ‘Blair House was appalled’ by the request.”

Think Progress now reports that at the time of the Obamas’ request, Howard was not even booked for the Blair House:

“Last night on MSNBC’s ‘Countdown,’ Bloomberg journalist Margaret Carlson revealed that when the White House turned down Obama’s request in early December, it had not yet even invited Howard to stay at the Blair House:

‘I reported…on December 11 and 12 that there were no foreign dignitaries booked into Blair House during that period of time. … I have the feeling they asked him [Howard] to come and stay so that there might be some plausible reason for not letting the Obamas stay there.’

She also pointed out that Blair House has ‘119 rooms with 35 bathrooms. Howard wouldn’t even have to share a sink with the Obamas.'”

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