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Did Bush Snub The Obama Family?

ThinkProgress has a fairly amazing report about how it is that the Obama family was denied a room in Blair House. Apparently, the White House asked former Australian P.M. John Howard to stay in the house for one night as a pretext to deny the Obama family the chance to stay there for the whole two week period it requested. ThinkProgress concludes, "supplanting the incoming President with Howard seems like a final, petty kick in the teeth from Bush."

Yes -- maybe too petty to be plausible. I concede that ThinkProgress has compiled all the facts you'd need to reach this conclusion (and they cite Margaret Carlson's reporting.) But my immediate reaction is to suspect that some misunderstanding or bureaucratic bungling must be at work. Look, I absolutely loathe George W. Bush, but this particular kind of personal rudeness isn't quite his style. Bush was perfectly gracious when Obama and his family visited the White House. The Blair House fiasco might be a slight, but it might just as well be some kind of mistake. I'd like to hear the White House's explanation before passing judgment.

--Jonathan Chait