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.