Obama ‘Kicked Out’ of Blair House for Howard

WaPo is reporting that former Aussie PM John Howard is the “mystery guest” staying in Blair House, preventing Barack Obama and his family from staying there.

We now know who is booked at Blair House, kicking President-elect Barack Obama and his family to the waiting list and across Lafayette Park to the Hay-Adams Hotel. 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. The three current and former heads of state are longtime political allies of Bush, and Blair and Howard were key partners in the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Blair and Uribe also were invited to stay at Blair House, but declined Bush’s invitation, a second White House official said today. Blair, who traditionally stays at the British Embassy, and Uribe apparently found other accommodations, said the second White House official, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

It’s somewhat amusing that Tony Blair declined the invite to stay at Blair House. Otherwise, there’s no story here. Laura Rosen wonders, “Can’t the Australian embassy find [Howard] a hotel?” Sure. But the thing is this:  Blair House is “The President’s Guest House, ” where presidents house VIP guests.  George W. Bush is president of the United States until noon on January 20.

Incoming presidents customarily stay at Blair House starting on January 15. Lo and behold, it’ll be available for his use by then. No one has been “kicked out.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    George W. Bush is president of the United States until noon on January 20.

    Obama has been measuring the drapes for the White House for years. I’m sure he and Michelle were similarly measuring the drapes for the Blair House as well.

    Let me tell you–Obama actually has it good by staying at the Hay-Adams. I’ve stayed at both the Hay-Adams and Blair House and the former has much better food–although I stayed at Blair during the Clinton Administration and I think Slick Willie was using the joint for his trysts. You don’t want to know what kind of crap we found there.

    Let’s put it this way–the Motel 6 would have been cleaner. I’m sure Bush cleaned the place up and made it classy, but still….

  2. D.C. Russell says:

    Until he resigned from his most recent job, Obama worked in the District of Columbia. One would assume that, with a District-based job, he had a place to live in or near the District. So why couldn’t he remain there until January 15?

    Having resigned his position with the federal government, Obama is now an unemployed private citizen. How does that take precedence over the
    head of state of a large, powerful, very friendly country?

  3. Ugh says:

    Last time I checked Blair house has more than one room.

    But sure, have him stay at the Hay-Adams and force the closure of portions of three major downtown streets for almost two weeks.

  4. caj says:

    Does seem rather ridiculous that this “ex Prime Minister” could not have stayed somewhere else surely….he is only and “ex Prime Minister” after all and Obama will be “our” new President.
    Oh well, good old George wants to show who is still in charge I guess!!!!

  5. Raoul says:

    Think Progress has the scoop- when Obama asked for the place nobody was booked- the Administration lied again- Aussies should feel very proud of the ex lackey PM. Two classy guys those two- I cannot believe I gave him the benefit of the doubt- the one remaing thing I had on this guy was that he was a class guy and honest in personal matters- now- that’s gone as well. And like some said- the place has 130 rooms for heaven’s sake- that said- if I had to choose- I would stay at the Hay-Adams.

  6. od says:

    Obama has said he has no problem moving. Why is this an issue for anyone?

  7. Ugh says:

    Why is this an issue for anyone?

    You mean other for hundreds (if not thousands) of people who work in downtown DC who are being inconvenienced for nothing?

  8. Sylena says:

    Well, considering Obama was changing a plan that was already created earlier… AND, he was just trying to figure out alternative places to stay for that week… I don’t think it was such a big deal.

    After all, he didn’t have to stay in a horrible place as a second choice.

    Too funny that this is the best the Liberals can be “outraged” about.

  9. Eerl4 says:

    I don’t think liberals are “outraged” about this. I think the reaction has been more along the lines of “Seriously??” Obviously Bush is president, its his guest house to do with as he pleases. But I think its kind of a dick move to say no you can’t move in a few days early (so your kids can get adjusted for school) so that you can have one of your buddies crash there for a single night. Uniter and not a divider? Right…

  10. Neil1030 says:

    So where exactly has Obama been living since he entered the Senate in 2005? He must have had an apartment or home of some kind there, or did he live in his Senate office?? Sounds like Mrs Obama and the girls stayed back in Chicago since the had to go to school there. So I am assuming they did not have a large family home. Why can’t they stay where Sen Obama lived?

    Of course I refer to the time he was in the Senate. In reality I know for most of the last 4 years he was not living in DC but running for president so he didn’t have much of a home life. But he must have had someplace to stay on those rare occasions when he was voting in the Senate. I have not heard the media say anything about this though.

  11. Kathy says:

    Obama has said he has no problem moving. Why is this an issue for anyone?

    Well, see, the thing is, though: Obama is not a dickhead.Obama is being courteous and agreeable because he can’t force George and Laura to allow him and his family to move in to Blair House two weeks early. Why waste his energy on anger or annoyance at the juvenile insults of Pres. Bush and his wife when they really don’t matter anyway since in two weeks they’ll be part of the dustbin of history? It’s not worth it.

    It’s called being an adult. Something George W. Bush doesn’t know anything about.

  12. od says:

    I’m still having a real hard time imagining that either a President or a President elect has time to be involved in this kind of question on either side. It sounds more like the kind of thing Bush’s and Obama’s aids would deal with.