You Stay Classy, George and Laura

No room at this inn until January 15 — even for the president-elect [emphasis mine]:

To the list of people having trouble finding somewhere in Washington to stay in early January, there can now be added one more entry: the Obama family.

President Bush’s aides have turned down a request from President-elect Barack Obama to move from Chicago into Blair House, the official guest residence across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, in time for Mr. Obama’s daughters to start school in Washington on Jan. 5.

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.”


White House officials said the protocol was that Blair House is available to presidents-elect starting Jan. 15, five days before the inauguration.

“You’re trying to make a story out of something that’s not a story,” said Sally McDonough, spokeswoman for the first lady, Laura Bush. “It’s not a question of outranking the Obamas. Blair House will be available to them on Jan. 15.”

But the issue goes beyond pique; as president-elect, Mr. Obama receives a level of Secret Service protection that is almost equal to that of a sitting president. Several blocks around his house in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago have been cordoned off with concrete barriers and round-the-clock police protection. Area residents often have to show identification to go home.

Blair House is already inside the White House security cordon, one administration official said. It is often used to house visiting foreign dignitaries who require a high degree of security. …

Team Obama is being very low-key about this roadblock, but it does seem a bit, shall we say, unusual? to use some weird etiquette argument to tell the president-elect he and his family cannot move into Blair House 10 days early because George and Laura’s farewell parties are somehow more important than a secure and on-time start for the Obama girls at their new school.

2 Responses to “You Stay Classy, George and Laura”

  1. Chief says:

    <i White House officials said the protocol was that Blair House is available to presidents-elect starting Jan. 15, five days before the inauguration.</i

    Protocol ? ? An inauguration of a new president requiring the possible use of transition housing for the President elect has occurred exactly 3 times in the last 30 years.

    Bush just wants to show that he is still the same mean, small-minded person he always has been.

  2. Alisha says:

    Bash George all you want, but leave Laura alone. She actually is pretty classy. I swear Kathy, you are single-handedly going to push me to the right. Every blog I read makes me shake my head a little more. I think I’m going to stop now. I’m going to delete my cookies, and I’m gonna block you.

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