ABC Frets About Obama's 'President-Elect Housing Crisis'
On Friday's "Good Morning America," anchors and reporters fretted about there being no room in Washington D.C. for Barack Obama. It seems that the President-elect's children start school on January 5 and Blair House, the presidential guest quarters, will not be available until the 15th of that month. News anchor Chris Cuomo worriedly insisted, "I mean, you know, he has got enough on his mind. He is worried about getting his kids situated, which is testament to the Obamas as parents."
Co-host Robin Roberts sympathetically wondered of Obama, "You know, he can't check in early?" An ABC graphic hyperbolically asked, "President-Elect Housing Crisis?" During a tease for the David Wright segment, Roberts labeled the Obamas as like "so many folks" who are "scrambling to find a hotel room."
Towards the end of the piece, ABC's Cokie Roberts appeared briefly to calmly point out, "There are all kinds of fancy hotels in Washington. They are likely to be booked because of the inauguration. But I suspect they'd make some room for the Obama family."
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:16am, follows:
ROBIN ROBERTS: And among those people looking for a place to stay for the inauguration, you know, so many folks are scrambling to find a hotel room. How about a President-elect? You know, he can't check in early?
CHRIS CUOMO: I mean, you know, he has got enough on his mind. He is worried about getting his kids situated, which is testament to the Obamas as parents. And they don't know where the Obamas are going to stay yet. So, we're going to tell you the latest on that.
ROBERTS: There's supposed to be a hotel that is guaranteed to have the presidential suite, wherever he stays.
CUOMO [Laughs]: That's for sure.
ROBERTS: And now, today, a milestone for the Obama family. It's Sasha and Malia's last day of school in their hometown of Chicago, weather-permitting, of course. And that will bring the family one step closer to their new residence on Pennsylvania Avenue. But the Obamas have a slight problem here. When they arrive in D.C. in a couple of weeks, there will still be a no vacancy sign at the White House. And David Wright is there in D.C. and has more for us. Good morning, David.
ABC GRAPHIC: President-Elect Housing Crisis? Obama's Checking In
DAVID WRIGHT: Morning, Robin. This has been billed in some places as a stumbling block in the transition. But it's really more of an etiquette problem. What do you do if the guest wants to arrive early? Especially, if the guest is the next president of the United States? The official move-in date here is January 20th. No exceptions.
GARY WALTERS (Retired Chief White House usher): There's one family that's moving out. And there's one family that's moving in.
WRIGHT: The problem for President-elect Obama, his daughters start school January 5th. The Obama family asked for an easy check-in at Blair house, the presidential guest quarters across the street from the White House. But the Bush administration said no. Apparently, Blair House is booked.
DANA PERINO: They'll be able to move in on the 15th
COKIE ROBERTS: It's awkward for the Bush administration because they had no reason to expect that the Obamas would need Blair House. And it's awkward for the Obamas because they need a place to stay.
WRIGHT: The White House kindly offered up temporary accommodations on a nearby military base. The Obamas politely declined. They've also, apparently, ruled out his Senate apartment. The couple told "60 Minutes" Michelle Obama has never slept there.
BARACK OBAMA: Yeah, it was sort of a one bedroom. It had, kind of, the vintage, college dorm pizza-
STEVE KROFT: Community organizer. Community organizer.
BARACK OBAMA: -empty beer bottle feel to it.
MICHELLE OBAMA: It reminded me of a little better version of the apartment you were in when we first started dating.
BARACK OBAMA: Yes, which was right near-
MICHELLE OBAMA: That was a dump too.
WRIGHT: The future first lady recently stayed at the Mayflower, a hotel that's probably eager to have famous guests other than Eliot Spitzer. But hotel rooms in this city are now in short supply.
COKIE ROBERTS: There are all kinds of fancy hotels in Washington. They are likely to be booked because of the inauguration. But I suspect they'd make some room for the Obama family.
WRIGHT: You know, I'm actually reporting from one of those hotels. You know, you see this shot every day. What you may not know is we're actually in a hotel room in the Hay-Adams hotel. ABC rents this room on a long-term basis because it has such a pretty view of the White House. Presumably, the presidential suite isn't as crammed with television stuff. Chris and Robin?
ROBERTS: You know how much we could get for that room on January 20th?
WRIGHT: Probably so. I think it will be busy, though.
ROBERTS: It will be busy. Okay, David. Thanks so much.