Sunday, December 14, 2008

No room at the Blair House for Obamas

By Libby Spencer

How rude. Bush's lackeys turned down a request by the Obamas to be allowed to stay in the official guest residence, Blair House, starting on Jan 5 so their daughters could start school on time after the holiday break.

The Obamas were told that they could move into Blair House on Jan. 15, but no earlier, because it is booked, an Obama transition official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We explored the idea so that the girls could start school on schedule,” the official said. “But there were previously scheduled events and guests that couldn’t be displaced.”

White House officials declined to disclose specifically who is using Blair House during that period, for what purpose or how they could take precedence over the president-elect of the United States when it came to government housing; one White House official would say only that it had been booked for “receptions and gatherings” by members of the departing Bush administration. Those receptions, the official said, “don’t make it suitable for full-time occupancy by the Obamas yet.”

Laura says it's nothing personal and the protocol only requires opening the doors to the Obama family on Jan 15. The White House won't disclose what “receptions and gatherings” are more important that showing some common courtesy to the man who is going to be saddled with the mess the current occupier of 1600 Penn Ave is leaving behind, but even putting aside the obvious petty revenge aspect of denying the request, how much more painfully indifferent to the needs of the children could they get?

Whatever the bleeding protocol is, not many presidents come into office with such young children and at that age, starting school late is just awful. In ten days, the other kids will have already formed their little social groups and it will make an already traumatic change all the more difficult for the Obama kids. You would think that Laura, as a former school teacher and W as the self-proclaimed "Education President" would have had some empathy for that.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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  • It's January, so the "other" kids already formed their social circle in September. DUH!!! I'm sure some hotel has a very private suite for the family to stay in. Bush is still the president until the 20th, so get over it. I bet you'll criticze the drapes Laura puts in their new home in Dallas.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:20 PM  

  • Of course Anon is correct about the school-year timing, but it seems burdensome to move into a hotel suite temporarily for 2 weeks, then move into the White House. It actually would make sense to me if after the holidays, the president-elect could move into the guest house as a transitional space, that way nobody's organizing moving boxes on the same day they're starting to run the country. Kids or no kids, I think that ought to be an option.

    By Blogger lindabeth, at 4:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger lindabeth, at 4:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger lindabeth, at 4:00 PM  

  • Point taken on the September thing but if memory serves, the social groups often reorganize after the long break. And for private schools the break is often longer than for public schools.

    In any event, coming in ten days later than everyone else still adds an additional level of strange on top of being the new kids and the president's kids.

    Besides, denying the request is still rude and petty. There's no reason they couldn't relocate a few parties.

    By Blogger Libby Spencer, at 5:00 PM  

  • And I might add, even if they could get a hotel, I understand everything is booked solid for the inauguration so it means they would still have to move into the Blair House on the 15th is my guess and that requires relocating twice within a couple of weeks. That's an additional burden on Obama who is trying to solve the mess Bush left, anon.

    By Blogger Libby Spencer, at 5:03 PM  

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