When is a Bust a Bust?

July/29/2012 16:22PM
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This is from the White House blog:

Fact Check: The Bust of Winston Churchill

Dan Pfeiffer Dan Pfeiffer

July 27, 2012 01:21 PM EDT
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Lately, there’s been a rumor swirling around about the current location of the bust of Winston Churchill. Some have claimed that President Obama removed the bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office and sent it back to the British Embassy.

Now, normally we wouldn’t address a rumor that’s so patently false, but just this morning the Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer repeated this ridiculous claim in his column.  He said President Obama “started his Presidency by returning to the British Embassy the bust of Winston Churchill that had graced the Oval Office.”

This is 100% false. The bust still in the White House. In the Residence. Outside the Treaty Room.

News outlets have debunked this claim time and again. First, back in 2010 the National Journal reported that “the Churchill bust was relocated to a prominent spot in the residence to make room for Abraham Lincoln, a figure from whom the first African-American occupant of the Oval Office might well draw inspiration in difficult times.” And just in case anyone forgot, just last year the AP reported that President Obama “replaced the Oval Office fixture with a bust of one of his American heroes, President Abraham Lincoln, and moved the Churchill bust to the White House residence.”

In case these news reports are not enough for Mr. Krauthammer and others, here’s a picture of the President showing off the Churchill bust to Prime Minister Cameron when he visited the White House residence in 2010.


President Barack Obama shows Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom a bust of Sir Winston Churchill (July 20, 2010)President Barack Obama shows Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom a bust of Sir Winston Churchill in the private residence of the White House, July 20, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


Hopefully this clears things up a bit and prevents folks from making this ridiculous claim again.


Since my post on the fact that the bust of Winston Churchill has remained on display in the White House, despite assertions to the contrary, I have received a bunch of questions — so let me provide some additional info. The White House has had a bust of Winston Churchill since the 1960’s. At the start of the Bush administration Prime Minister Blair lent President Bush a bust that matched the one in the White House, which was being worked on at the time and was later returned to the residence.  The version lent by Prime Minister Blair was displayed by President Bush until the end of his Presidency.  On January 20, 2009 — Inauguration Day — all of the art lent specifically for President Bush’s Oval Office was removed by the curator’s office, as is common practice at the end of every presidency. The original Churchill bust remained on display in the residence. The idea put forward by Charles Krauthammer and others that President Obama returned the Churchill bust or refused to display the bust because of antipathy towards the British is completely false and an urban legend that continues to circulate to this day.

This is typical of the Obama White House. Kranthammer writes an article that is true. Yes, upon moving into the Oval Office, Obama sends a bust of Churchill over to the British Ambassador. Yes, it did ruffle feelings with the Brits.



When confronted with the story, the first reaction is to lie about the story. Nope, didn’t happen, Next, attack the person who wrote the story. Then, when exposed, don’t admit your mistake, just spin the truth. Everything on loan to Bush went back. Sure, but do you think the British Ambassador was on Obama’s doorstep saying, “give me the Churchill bust”? Hell, no.



In response to the Krauthammer story, the White House calls Krauthammer a liar. There was always only one bust, here’s a picture to show Obama showing the bust to Cameron. When Krauthammer proved there was a second bust, the White House has egg on it’s face. Maybe a simple apology to Krauthammer would be in order, since he was called a liar. Nope, let’s just tell a little white lie. We had to send the bust back the day we moved in, it was on loan. Of course we never considered the British reaction when someone just dropped it off at the British Embassy.



This is how it works in Chicago. I’ve lived here long enough to see this repeated time and time again. This President brings Chicago politics to the Oval Office every day. There’s no class, no graciousness, no style. We’re seeing his thug, Rahm Emanuel bring it back to Chicago, attacking Chick-Fil-A one day and denying it the next. It’s absolutely impossible for Obama or Emanuel to ever admit a mistake. Just see how “you didn’t build that business” is rolling out.

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