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When President-elect Obama and his wife and children asked permission to stay at the Blair House in the weeks before the inauguration so that their two children could start the school term in Washington, the Bush White House replied with a curt “no” saying that Blair House was “spoken for.” Now we learn, that, par for the course for the Bush administration, that statement was ripe with truthiness. In fact it was only after the Obama request that the Bush team went scrambling looking for someone to occupy Blair House so it could be denied the Obamas. The taker is former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Howard will be traveling to Washington to receive the last in a series of Bush-awarded Presidential Medals of Freedom. Howard was recently handed a humiliating trouncing by Australian voters, who even turned him out of his own constituency. But he was a far more loyal poodle to George W. Bush than Tony Blair ever was. Among other things, he ventured head-first into American electoral politics, parroting a series of G.O.P. talking points, including the absurd proposition that Obama was the choice of Al Qaeda leaders to be president of the United States.
So Obama is turned out of Blair House to make room for a man who gained notoriety around the world for unprincipled and unfair criticisms of Obama? That’s what the Bush White House calls “gracious.” Most Americans would use other adjectives.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Chances that a Republican man believes that “poor people have hard lives”:
A school in South Korea was planning to deploy a robot to protect students from unwanted seductions.
Nuremberg’s Neues Museum filed a criminal complaint against a 91-year-old woman who completed a crossword puzzle that was in fact a $116,000 piece of avant-garde Danish art.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”