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02 January 2009


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I'm afraid I cannot share your indignation on this one, Pat, as reflected by these three questions:

1- Why shouldn't the Obamas be able to move to Washington now so that their kids can start school (and also so that the POTUS-elect can work even more closely with Congress and the agencies to prepare for the 20th while the Bushies have their parties...)?

2- Who pays for Blair House being used for farewell parties and the like? Why should that be on the public's nickel? (... and in addition, your entry about the "goodbye party" etiquette comes to mind...)

3- But if you're looking for parting shots of political 'chutzpah' to question, I hope you saw Paul Krugman's query here:


The only thing that did surprise me in this story is that a senator or DC bigwig could not have loaned the Obamas their home for a couple of weeks while taking up lodgings at a nice hotel in return for good seats at the Inaugural...



It's the new "truthiness".

You heard it here first.



Given the Republican track record (Nixon\Rove)...

I wouldn't go anywhere near any facility they had control over until I had too.

That said, I too would like to know who (And how much, and what they hoped to gain by) paying for the alternative.


Patrick Lang


I will try again.

The Republicans should get the hell out of Blair House. Now!
Those three or four town houses are all one building. This is a government facility manned full time by White House Stewards, the Secret Service, the White House Communications
Agency, etc. We, the taxpayers pay for Blair House ALL THE TIME. It is for the use of the presidency.

I don't care who pays for Republican parties in the place or elsewhere. They should go indulge their sentimentality somewhere off federal premises. The new guy needs the place.

My wife agrees that Mrs. Obama should have asked someone like HRC to take care of the children while they started school. She lives near Sidwell Friends. That would have had the added advantage of embarassing the Republicans who deserve it. pl


Would Cheney accept an ECM/TEMPEST sweep of Blair House before he quits?

There is no way I'd take computers of mine into an installation under this lot's control, or still less route my traffic through a network they control.

I'd want extensive verification of a whole lot of things, notably the internal phone system.



The schedule conflict is that Dick Cheney won't be finished with his document-shredding efforts until right before the inauguration. Cheney's minions are using shredders that were donated a few years back by Enron (only slightly used), so their evidence-destruction techniques are slower than at the White House, which is using newer shredding technology.


Your point re that Blair House should be made available immediately to the Obamas is spot on. However, so is the question re who will be paying for the hotel... Probably the same folks who donate for the family vacation, parts of the transition process, the private inauguration festivities, etc., etc.

All contributions to any post-election 'transition' activities and celebrations should be banned. While contributions to candidates can be considered 'at risk', contributions to the person who has won the election are more likely to be made to ensure 'access'. Being post-election this ban should avoid 'free speech' constitutionality problems.

This is my check to see if any proposed campaign finance reform is "real." Don't include this and I don't beleve the person making the proposal is very serious about the subject...

Cold War Zoomie

Who are these private donors?

At $50K a day, I can say with no hesitation and with complete honesty that I am not one of those donors!

That's a start to narrowing down the list.

I wonder if he can pull it out of his campaign leftovers. Something like $30M was in the bank the day after the election.

Patrick Lang


Is that how things are in England now?

So, you think that all those soldiers and civil servants are now servants of Sauron? pl


Updated | 3:12 p.m. CHICAGO—The White House has turned down a request from the family of President-elect Barack Obama to move into Blair House in early January so that his daughters can start school on Jan. 5.

The Obamas were told that Blair House, where incoming presidents usually stay in the five days before Inauguration Day, is booked in early January, a spokesperson to the Obama transition said. “We explored the idea so that the girls could start school on schedule,’ the spokesperson said. “But, there were previously scheduled events and guests that couldn’t be displaced.”

It remained unclear who on Bushes guest list outranked the incoming President.

C Hussein NotObama

As an Obama contributor during the campaign, I can assure you that I receive requests every few days for funding "the transition". I believe that it is Obama's supporters, mostly small, who are the "donors" funding the costs of him not staying in the Blair House. I can't get too worked up by him staying in a hotel in the interim (and I do think the restriction of the Blair House is a deliberate attempt by Republicans to twist Dem tails), but I can understand why someone who may have voted for Obama but not contributed to his campaign may wonder where the money is coming from and suspect the worst.


From every thing I have read on this issue it seems to boil down to Tradition. I'm happy to hear that Tradition still exists in Washington and within our government.

BHO does not seem to mind and the cost at the Hay Adams is pocket change for a guy that put the Republicans to shame in the art of fundraising.

I did like the HRC child tendering comment...

Cold War Zoomie

Who are these private donors?

At $50K a day, I can say with no hesitation and with complete honesty that I am not one of those donors!

That's a start to narrowing down the list.

I wonder if he can pull it out of his campaign leftovers. Something like $30M was in the bank the day after the election.


If these funds are from the presidential inauguration, the donors are listed here:



Fighting a cold, and with not much to do on a Friday night, I got on Lexis-Nexus to see how past Presidents-elect have used the Blair house. I went back to Reagan's transition and it appears that none of the President elects stayed in Blair House for more than a few days. All, however, used the executive office building behind the Blair House to work on their transitions, though it isn't clear from my research if that was continuous use or not.

Reagan, Clinton and Bush the younger stayed in the Blair House for a couple of days in early January then moved back into it either the night before the inauguration or two nights before. Bush senior stayed in the VP mansion and moved into the House two nights before the inauguration. The Clintons, it turns out, stayed at the Hays Adams at least once during the transition - for several days in December.

It appears the Blair House is not completely booked for the entire period, but booked enough to prevent a continuous stay. I'm guessing that rather than move two or maybe three times during that time period, the Obama's opted to simply stay in the hotel until the traditional 5-nights-prior (though I wonder how traditional that really is since none of our last four Presidents have actually used all 5 nights). That makes sense - moving is a hassle.

A question this brings up is if the traditional "5 days" should be extended and if so, for how long. January 1st? Earlier?

As for who is paying, Obama apparently can use both inaugural and transition money to pay for the hotel The inaugural committee can receive up to $50k per person, while the transition committee is limited to $5k. Only individuals, not corporations, PACs, etc. can donate.

Some more searching found me the entire donor list for the inaugural committee.

There's also some good analysis here from opensecrets.org.

Obama doesn't have to release the donor list for the transition committee until Feb. 20th. For more on that, read this.



The rumor is, Bush won't let Obama's family come in early before Inauguration, but Obama needs to move to washington cause his kids school started before Jan 20.

so, I don't think it bothers me that much since Obama has a lot of money left from the campaign.

I just want a smooth transition without too much shenanigans.

William R. Cumming

In the future the Presidential Transition Act should be modified to include costs of housing (secure) for the new President-elect as part of the transition. This is a dangerous time in my opinion for a variety of reasons, some left unstated.


I doubt there is much shredding going on, from my
experience most directives came verbally. No way to
trace, easy to deny responsibility. Will be difficult to hold them accountable for their crimes.

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