December 12th, 2008
02:10 PM ET
14 years ago

Early Blair House check-in for Obamas unavailable

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The Obamas had been hoping for an early Blair House check-in."]CHICAGO (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama will not be moving his family across the street from the White House early, despite his request to do so. Blair House, which incoming presidents traditionally occupy 5 days before inauguration day on January 15, is apparently booked in the early part of January.

An Obama transition spokesperson says the family initially "explored the idea" of moving into Blair House early so that daughters Sasha and Malia could start school on schedule. But the family was told there were previously-scheduled events and guests that could not be displaced.

"The Blair House, the President's guest house for visiting dignitaries, is available to President-elect Obama and his family starting January 15, as is historically the case," said Sally McDonough, spokeswoman for First Lady Laura Bush.

"As for any conversation, I don't comment on specific conversations about transition details."

The Obama transition spokesperson emphasized the White House has been "extremely accommodating" to the Obama family, adding that the entire process has been "smooth and friendly."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (1,230 Responses)
  1. Neelam

    As a Chicagoan, I'm thrilled that Blago is going. Just waiting for Mayor Daley and his lapdog Barak to go with him. Remember, Axelrod was Blago's first campaign adviser.

    "ChicagoGate is probably a better word for it. Don't be too surprised if many people find out they've been duped by appearances and mainstream media…In fact, brace yourselves, would be my advice."

    December 12, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Jewel, KS

    Those girls going to school should have trumped whoever had been booked in Blair House. What idiot planned that? They knew we would be having an inaugural–it comes every 4 years.

    This is exactly why America is sending Barack to Washington, and not a minute too soon. Gone are the days of partisan pettiness and sniper fire.

    December 12, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. Joan

    It will be interesting to note who these "Early January Dignitaries & Guests" are that can't be accommadated in an equally genteel manner at another location.

    December 12, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Mary

    No room in the Inn for the Messiah? this is totally UNACCEPTABLE

    December 12, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. Robert

    @ Gerda Edwards:

    I see, so the guy who grew up on food stamps and just a few years ago finished paying off his school loans is the elitist? And how does wanting your daughters to start school at the same time as everyone else make him an elitist? I'll go out on a limb here, and for the purposes of proving my point, say you're a republican who voted for McCain. That's John McCain, who has nine homes, thirteen cars, and married a wealthy beer heiress. Go ahead and make your inane argument again about how Obama's the elitist. Tool.

    December 12, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. Unbelievable

    Are you people serious!? 1st- read the article accurately- it IS available after Jan 15th- it said that twice. They can move in on the 15th JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER PRESIDENT-ELECT IN THE PAST. There is no snubbing here, no impolite behavior, no poor attitude, no rudeness. It is simple- Previous guests have been invited to stay there because there was no reason to believe that the president-elect would make such a request- traditonally they don't! They probably have been scheduled there long before Obama was elected!! McCain would have had been given the same answer if he made such a request!

    It's also a perfectly reasonable request for Obama to make. No elitist attitude here. It makes sense for his family and as Dad he's trying to do what's best for his kids. Now, if it's important to them, they could stay somewhere else for a few days to let the kids start on time- even a hotel if necessary.

    Truly... this isn't a big deal either way. Get over it people.

    December 12, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. kc

    So the President-Elect is an elitist for requesting early move-in to accommodate his children's first day of school? How dare he!

    Seriously, some of you people need to get a grip. It was a reasonable request for a very reasonable, well, reason. But some people would rather spew hateful comments towards the future POTUS. Just what our country needs, more hateful division. Very sad.

    December 12, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. Barb

    Take a moment and look at WHY the Obama's want to settle in early - it's for their children to go to school. Seems like family and education are worthwhile values to trigger asking whether their request could be accommodated. Since Mrs. Bush says their request can't be granted, the Obamas were gracious in still saying how helpful the Bushes have been. Let's not underestimate either the Bushes or the Obama's - both have tried, and taken, the high road even if it didn't work.

    December 12, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. Margaret, NH

    Sounds like Washington shannanigans. I've been watching the inaugural for years and the president elect's family has always walked out of Blair House. I've never seen anything like it. Somebody's head should roll.

    December 12, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. William A. Schaedler from St. Louis

    Just who does this guy think he is? Why should he receive special privileges. Let him wait his turn like everyone before him. I'm glad he was told no. I'm sick of looking at him already.

    December 12, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. Kim Miner

    For those of you who are still angry that Obama was elected president, get over yourself. The election is over and McCain lost. If Obama is an elitist, what does that say about John and Cindy McCain and the rest of the Republican party? Obama started from nothing and succeeded in the American Way... he's not an heir from some rich daddy. Anyway, he only wanted to move into the Blair house so that his kids (whom you should realize is his first priority) could start school on time. He's behaving like a true responsible father. It's not like he can stay in a regular hotel now since he is the president-elect. Some of you who have responded so negatively to his motives are just ignorant. You'd say and do anything to watch this new president fail. After everything this country has been put through, it's time for us (all of us) to GROW UP!

    December 12, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. CJ

    Tomorrow in the news...Obama supporters of Bush being racist for not giving Obama what he wants.

    Boohoo, I can already tell his presidency is going to be one cry fest after another.

    Just follow protocol Barack, itll be ok. I will say this, hes coming into office tainted by Ayers, Wright, and now the Gov of IL. I cant believe people thought he was the messiah. Its hilarious how idiotic the far left is. Hes not even helping you or appointing anyone from the far left.

    December 12, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. Race to the Bottom

    What nobody wants to talk about is the "New Civil War".The Confederacy has been trying to undermine and take over the government for the last eight years,led by Texas.The Republican south just cant get slavery out of their blood.They have the "Right to Work" states,what a joke for a name,its where you have the right to be a slave of the companies.They want wages to fall,no benefits and no health care for workers.Please post the facts this time CNN.Lets debate this issue and stop trying to hide it.

    December 12, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. John in NY

    Why is it arrogant and presumptuous for Obama to simply "ask" if the Blair House is available? He and his wife are trying to create a smooth transition for their children in their new school. They just asked if it was possible. Bush said no. End of story. And that Rebekah person needs to check her facts. Come on. Obama was born in this country, which means he's a citizen. Period. No further questions. Ridiculous people.

    December 12, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. Dino

    SCREW YOU, BUSH!! You should be in prison, @$$wipe!

    Barack Obama is a better man than you will ever be.

    December 12, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. Mary

    Obama can wait his turn!!! Go grief he is NOT the president !!!

    Stay in your neighborhood with the rest of the Chicago thugs!! Plus let's wait and see what his governor will say about him - he may not get to move in!!! Bags packed and no where to go!!! LOL Maybe he will go to the "big" house with Rezko and now this dork of a governor!!!

    December 12, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. Meredith

    All you people who are so indignant over this should go back and read the article. Blair House is available for the Obamas on January 15, the date that all Presidents-elect are allowed to move in. Bush is still the President, and it is likely that foreign dignitaries will be staying there...plans which are made well in advance of November elections.

    December 12, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. Rebekah

    and now for some reason CNN won't even post my comments, is that censorship or

    December 12, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. Phoebe

    The White House is not preventing them from using Blair House, starting on the 15th, only before that. Why is anyone upset? Do you think the Obam's were insulted to find that it was booked? I doubt it!

    December 12, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. Brian D

    Future Pres. Obama's judiciouss decisions are judicious not only for the benefit of being the next President that hits the ground running but his same style reflects a character of wisdom regarding his family and I think that is a plus and not arrogance nor elitist !

    December 12, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. David

    I mean, neither side is doing anything bad. The house is traditionally occupied up to five days before the inauguration, meaning beginning around January 10th. It is not January yet. For the White House to say the house is booked up until then is not disrespectful.

    Likewise, it is not out of the realm of propriety for the Obama family to inquire whether they might be able to move in earlier to get their kids started in school. Note that the also emphasize that the incumbent administration has been very helpful, indicating that they are not upset by not being able to move into the house early.

    And the "citizenship" stuff is just beyond silly.

    December 12, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Matt, Minneapolis, MN

    Jeeze I better not be critical of CNN, unless you leave CNN out of it, and denegrate the president your post won't be heard. Seriously the moderators here have been biased for the last year. It's getting to be rediculous.

    December 12, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. Scotia

    I don't think the Obamas are looking for any special treatment, but there should have been better planning here. The reality is that whether Obama or McCain won, both tickets had school-aged children who would be relocating to DC. Somebody should've been thinking that a space should be held for at least one family so that the children could start school at the beginning of the term! Expecting or asking for such accomodations is not being arrogant, on the part of the Obamas. They're just being good parents.

    December 12, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. anonymous in Big D

    You morons – read the article! The Blair House is for the NOW and only one at a time President who, like it or not, still happens to be Bush. Why the obamas presumed that they can start breaking protocol and rules before 1/20, does not surprise me. It will be, and always has been, in the past, ready for the PE on 1/15! There is absolutely no reason the Bushes should accommodate the Obamas. They have already gone out of their way to make them welcome in the white house. More than past Pres. and First Ladies have. Let's just wait and see what the evil Michelle will do when its their turn (not too soon for me) to vacate the premises!

    December 12, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. Daniel

    The vocabulary of each comment reveals those who are either Repubs with a bad attitude or the just-plain-racist who do not want to admit this talented, cleanly elected President into town until the last minute.
    It is stupid that the Blair House is booked.

    December 12, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
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