White House turns down Obama's request to move into Blair House

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New York, Dec 13 (ANI): The White House has turned down a request from President-elect Barack Obama's family to move into Blair House in early January so that his daughters can start school on January 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 for the Obama transition said.

"We explored the idea so that the girls could start school on schedule. But, there were previously scheduled events and guests that couldn't be displaced," The New York Times quoted the spokesman, as saying.

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

"It's not a public schedule. It's not a question of outranking the Obamas. Blair House will be available to them on January 15," said Sally McDonough, spokeswoman for First Lady Laura Bush, in refusing to disclose who was staying at Blair House.

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 "you're trying to make a story out of something that's not a story."

Meanwhile, the NYT quoted a State Department official, as saying that he didn't know of any foreign dignitaries staying at the Blair House in early January.

A White House official said that Bush does not have family or friends from Texas staying at the Blair House during the period, which the Obamas requested.

But Blair House, the official said, has been booked for "receptions and gatherings" by members of the outgoing Bush Administration. Those receptions, the official said, "don't make it suitable for full-time occupancy by the Obamas yet."

Obama has been staying in Chicago with his family since the election; the Obamas have decided to send their two daughters, Malia and Sasha, to Sidwell Friends School in Washington. (ANI)

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