December 12, 2008, 1:11 pm
Sorry, We’re Booked, White House Tells Obamas
By Helene Cooper
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.
“It’s not a public schedule,” said Sally McDonough, spokeswoman for First Lady Laura Bush, in refusing to disclose who was staying at Blair House. “It’s not a question of outranking the Obamas. Blair House will be available to them on January 15.”
Ms. McDonough said “there’s nothing more to say other than that it’s not available and won’t be available until January 15.” She added that “you’re trying to make a story out of something that’s not a story.”
A State Department official said he didn’t know of any foreign dignitaries staying at Blair House in early January.
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