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March 12, 2009

Returning England’s gift is a bust

I recently heard that President Obama was going to return a bust of Winston Churchill to England. It was a gift from England after the 9/11 tragedy. It had been in the Oval Office since then, and he had it removed and returned.

Is that not a slap in the face of our closest European ally?

Maxine Thayer
Leawood

Comments

solomon

Most admired Kate,

A second Mrs solomon? Have you heard something I haven't? Am I shopping for a new year model or something with miles?

I think it is ridiculous that a story would be generated about a bust of anyone. "Solidarity"? Big deal, nice gesture, what is the purpose? We are going to have a military presence and the British will have political say so in Iraq long after all of us are dead, should Winnie be in the Oval Office during all those Presidents terms?

Stupid issue brewed by anti obama elements in the media, whether US or UK. What other reason would this be a story?

Jim

Eng,

When Obama says "Yo Brown!" with his mouth full of food or gives him an surprise, unwanted shoulder massage, we'll know we have elected a naive administration.

whispering_to_kc

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C03E7D91F3AF93AA25756C0A9679C8B63

"The General Services Administration responded to Mr. Ungar in February [2001] and issued a statement today, saying, ''The condition of the real property was consistent with what we would expect to encounter when tenants vacate office space after an extended occupancy.''"

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d02360.pdf

"For example, regarding the statement contained in the June 2001 list that
100 keyboards had to replaced because the “W” keys were removed, EOP
staff provided different estimates of the number of keyboards that had to
be replaced because of missing or damaged keys, ranging from about 33
keyboards to 150 keyboards. As a result, we could not determine how
many keyboards were actually replaced because of missing or damaged
“W” keys."

Hmmm. 33-150 keyboards replaced from 400 White House offices after eight years of use. It still sounds like nonsense, by the way.

Engineer

Kate
Surely there have to be some people in the State Department who have some understanding of how these things are done. And surely Obama will allow them to advise him. But arrogance, ignorance and prejudice are strong forces.

Marctnts

"...removed all the White House keyboard "w" keys and trashed the offices prior to Bush moving in. That was also nonsense, by the way."

Not quite. Removing the "w" keys was one of the few things that both the outgoing Clinton staffers and the incoming Bush guys agreed on. About 100 keyboards were replaced, and apparently, these kind of sophomoric pranks are common during transitions.

The dispute arose between accounts of other damage that supposedly occurred. The Bush camp claimed that obscene words were spray painted on walls, phone lines were cut, furniture was overturned, and pornographic messages were left on voicemail greetings. The old Clinton staffers claimed that except for a few outside cases and the aforementioned keyboard prank, none of the rest of the claims were true. The Bush camp declined to proved photos or other proof of the alleged damage, and the issue died.

Kate

Engineer, Obama will be visiting the Queen next month. My husband and I have a bet as to what The Won’s gift will be. I think it will be a Snugeeze and set of stick-up lights. My husband thinks it will be a pony keg of Pabst and a carton of Newports.

Kate

Sol, as I explained, it’s not the bust itself, but rather the meaning behind the gesture – British people expressing solidarity with America after the September 11th attacks – that is important. Or was important. Maybe, it’s like a nicknack a dear friend gives to you and the first Mrs. Sol to show how much your friendship is valued. The second Mrs. Sol might feel no attachment to it and might very well return it.

Most of what I heard about this, I read on line from British newspapers, so I can’t answer your question about “media shows”.

Engineer

solomon
Returning the bust and the "brush-off" treatment accorded Gordon Brown all indicate that we have either a naive Administration, or one unskilled in diplomatic procedures or that we have one that has feelings against England. Under any of the three conditions, it's a bad situation. And we may have all three.

whispering_to_kc

As noted, the bust was a loaner and it remained the property of the British all along. The bust was never a "gift". The 2001 loan was extended in 2004 and the bust was returned to the British embassy prior to the 2009 White House transition and replaced with a bust of Lincoln.

I have a feeling this "controversy" is being stirred up by the same people who were telling us eight years ago that the Clinton crew removed all the White House keyboard "w" keys and trashed the offices prior to Bush moving in. That was also nonsense, by the way.

solomon

Dearest kate,

i would ask you where and to what importance do we need to have Churchill's bust displayed?

BTW, does anyone know what honored american was displaced by the bust of Winnie or was his pedestal a new obstruction? with Lincoln being where Winnie was, what could be the possible insult.

...and maybe you would know Kate, what media show is making a big deal out of this nothing?

Kate

I thought that the real value of gifts exchanged by heads of state was their symbolism. I read in one of the UK papers that the bust of Churchill was loaned to the White House (and by extension, the American people) after 9/11 as a symbol of the British solidarity with America. After Bush was re-elected, the loan was extended. And when Obama was elected the British offered to continue the loan, but he declined. Symbolically, Obama’s gesture could be taken as a way of devaluing the support of an ally. Of course, Obama’s thoughtful, generous gifts to Prime Minister Brown, not to mention his treatment of Brown, lays to rest any doubts about how much this administration values Great Britain.

Marctnts, I don't think it's so much "bigger things" weighing on his mind, as he's just in over his head and floundering.

jazz-Man

Wheres Harriet Harman when you need her?

solomon

The other aspect of that, Marctnts, of what value or significance is the bust of Churchill. Seems like a bunch of nothing, are we supposed to revere this guy like the British do?

As I asked earlier, who is making an issue out of nothing here? That is the real story!

Marctnts

The embassy gave Bush a bust, Obama didn't want it and gave it back. The big deal is what exactly?

I'll admit that combined with the lack of ceremony during Brown's first visit and the poor choice of gifts, it makes it look like Obama doesn't care as much about the UK's close alliance, but it could just as easily be indicative of the "bigger things" weighing on his mind right now.

solomon

...thanks jeanette....I'll put my handkerchief I carry for nosebleeds away until Monday.:-)

solomon

You are just a liar BuddyT. And ignorant. i have called you a piece of crap in the past, this morning I said offal. Look it up if you don't know what it means.

I never posted that I supported ACORN, not once.

Homosexual marriage is not a political issue even when bigots like you try and make it so. There are many conservative homosexuals who want the right to be married. I know you are so blind that you believe no gay soldiers were ever by your side in Nam, but please don't be so stupid to say there are no gay conservatives. Gay marriage is only a political issue to the political parties. To rational human beings it is how they feel about the fact, not the political BS you wallow in. Ask Dick Cheney.

Me supporting abortion? Are you really that stupid? I have said that it is legal in the US of A for a woman to make the choice to have an abortion, but that it is killing a child and in most cases a selfish decision. Only in a warped hateful mind could that be considered "support" for abortion. Next thing you'll tell me conservative women don't get abortions. take the duct tape off of Mrs BuddyT's lips and listen to her.

Somewhere you got it in your mind that to be conservative is to be hateful to other Americans. That is not what it means.

jeanette

solomon, I've been a big fan or yours since I started ready this blog and you have just proven why. I'm not sure you'll really get Rush in just an hour, but at least you're trying. That's a lot more then most people would do.
Although I hate to tell you this, but he's not on the air today, he's out of town. So hang on till next week and maybe it won't hurt as bad as you think.

BudRog

Hey Race Card, you called me a POS today! What an intellectual study you are! You supported ACORN, homosexual marriage, abortion, etc. and so on...why are you ashamed of being a liberal RC??

Like I said many times before RC I have scraped better than you off the soles of my boots....you have a nice day now, ya hear Race Card...oh, and BTW Rush is off today, guest host setting in, go ahead and tune back into NPR.

solomon

Since I'm bringing airwaves into this, I am going to turn on Rush at 11 today, and I am going to try and listen an entire hour. Putting my sanity on the line here to measure how much of what I feel I know about this guy is correct. Let's see how many times he attacks the Obama's with vitriolic words and how many times he makes this an US vs THEM America.(which has been the death of every great power).

If no one hears from me by 1:05, send out the cadaver dogs.

solomon

Wasn't my intent jeanette. I think the fact that he gave it back is a non-issue, he went into the White House and decorated to his taste's just as every President has. Blair loaned it to Bush and Bush left it to Obama to decide if he wanted to keep sounds like the way the story played out.

My point (and question) is, jeanette, who is discussing this on the airwaves and with what slant?

 
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