Skip to comments.White House: Hey, we never really removed that bust of Churchill
Posted on 07/28/2012 6:22:28 AM PDT by Kaslin
This won’t get 1/1,000th the media play that Romney’s Olympics comments got in London, but in its own way it’s just as baffling. Why, oh why, would they engage on this subject, wholly unnecessarily, and get their facts wrong to boot? The claim from White House spokesflack Dan Pfeiffer:
Lately, theres 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…
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.
He implies, without ever flatly stating, that the bust has been at the White House from day one and that the story about it being moved in 2009 was a big juicy nothingburger invented out of whole cloth to smear Obama as anti-British. Is that true? Why … no. Read RB’s post at the Right Sphere citing this passage from the Telegraph in 2009:
The bronze by Sir Jacob Epstein, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds if it were ever sold on the open market, enjoyed pride of place in the Oval Office during President Bush’s tenure.
But when British officials offered to let Mr Obama to hang onto the bust for a further four years, the White House said: “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Diplomats were at first reluctant to discuss the whereabouts of the Churchill bronze, after its ejection from the seat of American power. But the British Embassy in Washington has now confirmed that it sits in the palatial residence of ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald, just down the road from Vice President Joe Biden’s official residence. It is not clear whether the ambassador plans to keep it in Washington or send it back to London.
So they did give it back. Pfeiffer’s simply lying. But wait — the lies aren’t done yet. Jake Tapper called the embassy for more details. Drumroll:
Like a plot twist in a sitcom, IT TURNS OUT THERE ARE TWO CHURCHILL BUSTS!!!!!
The one in the White House Residence was a gift to the White House from the British Embassy during the Nixon administration.
The other one was loaned to President George W. Bush by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Says James Barbour, Press Secretary and Head of Communications for the British Embassy, The bust of Sir Winston Churchill, by Sir Jacob Epstein, was lent to the George W Bush administration from the UKs Government Art Collection, for the duration of the Presidency. When that administration came to an end so did the loan; the bust now resides in the British Ambassadors Residence in Washington DC. The White House collection has its own Epstein bust of Churchill, which President Obama showed to Prime Minister Cameron when he visited the White House in March
So the Krauthammer remark that inspired all of this — that O “started his Presidency by returning to the British Embassy the bust of Winston Churchill that had graced the Oval Office” — turns out to be true. And the dumbest part is that Pfeiffer had a much better comeback available to him than the one he went with: Namely, if Obama is as anti-British as Krauthammer and Romney want people to believe, why did he keep the other bust of Churchill on display in the residence? Either Pfeiffer didn’t know what he was talking about when he wrote this post or he did know but wanted people to believe that the Mystery of the Bust was a lie concocted by the right to malign our poor, unfairly treated president. And then Tapper pantsed him, ruining his plan. Which do you suppose is the truth?
Update: Thanks to Tapper, Pfeiffer’s been forced to update his post:
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 1960s. 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 Bushs Oval Office was removed by the curators 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.
Finally, he settles on the stronger argument. But there’s a fudge here too: As noted in the old Telegraph piece quoted above, the British offered to extend the loan of the Oval Office bust so that O could continue to display it. He turned them down. Even if you don’t question his motives for doing so, the facts are what they are.
Exit question: Anyone willing/able to explain to me why, exactly, he wants to argue with Romney about this? The Great Bust Debate won’t move a single vote either way. Take the rest of the day off, Dan.
Busted....The Tale of Two Busts !!
They don't know how to tell the truth.
"Bust of Churchill Returned by Obama
"After the September 11th attacks our British allies loaned President George Bush
a bust of one of the greatest Britons the world has ever known, Sir Winston Churchill.
It was a gesture to show their support for the United States in one of its darkest hours.
The bust sat prominently in the Oval Office for the balance of President Bushs tenure there,
and once President Obama took office, the British offered him the opportunity to keep it for the length of his term.
His response was cold and most likely sent tremors through the British diplomatic community."
"Diplomatically this is a faux pax that only an unseasoned politician could make.
The British have stood by our side as strong allies for decades and we need to maintain that relationship,
especially in a world that is becoming increasingly dangerous (See Is Nuclear Weakness on the Horizon)
If he did not want to look at it in the oval office he could have displayed it elsewhere in the White House
and not slapped the British in the face in such a blatant disregard of political etiquette."
" I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle."
Once again, we—the Great Unwashed Public—are just too damned stupid to understand what actually happened or what he really said or did or meant to do/say ....
Smartest Kid In The Class, 1992
During a tour of the museum at Monticello, just before the 1992 inauguration, with news reporters present, Al Gore, pointing to the busts of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, asked, “Who are these people????” (New York Times, January 17, 1993)
OblahMao is a ‘bust’ of a presidency.
Liberals always lie. It comes natural to them
The Idiot and Chief’s lies are finally catching up with him..
Thanks for posting this. And thanks for maintaining the original formatting. Wish more FReepers would do this. Reading a plain text post can get very confusing when the original article, like this one, used indention to set off quotes.
Not exactly, the bust in the Oval Office was set to go back at the end of the Bush term and the English offered to extend the loan so it would stay in the Oval Office and Obama declined. The British press reported at the time that the bust was returned per Obama’s wishes and that is true as he declined to keep it in the Oval Office.
The essence of the story is true. Obama does have a thing about Britain which is born out by several other corroborating actions taken by Obama.
Can we give this one to the British, as well?
Obama or Bust!
This administration is a bust.
Putting a focus on anything "Churchill" at this point in his campaign is curious, to say the least! One would think no Democrat would want to call attention to Churchill's outspoken advocacy for free enterprise and condemnation of redistribution and government planning and control of an economy.
Perhaps a Churchill "bust," along with one of the following quotations would help to focus the Romney campaign, for most would recognize that much of what is happening in America today is described within these words:
"When I see the present Socialist Government denouncing capitalism in all its forms, mocking with derision and contempt the tremendous free enterprise capitalist system on which the mighty production of the United States is founded, I cannot help feeling that as a nation we are not acting honorably or even honestly." - Winston Churchill, Woodford Green, July 10, 1948.
"We shall not allow the advance of society and economic well-being of the nation to be regulated and curtailed by the pace of the weakest bretheren among us. Proper incentives must be offered and full freedom given to the strong to use their strength in the commonweal. Initiative, enterprise, thrift, domestic foresight, contrivance, good housekeeping and natural ability must reap their just reward. On any other plan the population of this island will sink by disastrous and agonizing stages to a far lower standard of life and two-thirds of its present numbers." - Winston Churchill, speech, Blenheim Palace, August 4, 1947.
"The difference between what is seen and what is not seen was often noticed by the old economists. What is not seen is the infinite variety of individual transactions and decisions which, in a civilized society, within the framework of just and well-known laws, insure the advantage not only of the individual concerned, but of the community, and provide that general body of well-being constituting the wealth of nations. All this is blotted out by an over-riding State control, however imposing some of its manifestations may be. It is the vital creative impulse that that I deeply fear the doctrines and policy of the socialist Government have destroyed, or are rapidly destroying, in our national life. Nothing that they can plan and order and rush around enforcing will take its place. They have broken the mainspring, and until we get a new one the watch will not go." - Winston Churchill, speech, House of Commons, October 28, 1947.
"It is in the interest of the wage-earner to have many other alternatives open to him than service under one all-powerful employer called the State. He will be in a better position to bargain collectively and production will be more abundant; there will be more for all and more freedom for all when the wage earner is able, in the large majority of cases, to choose and change his work, and deal with a private employer who, like himself, is subject to the ordinary pressures of life and, like himself, is dependent upon his personal thrift, ingenuity and good-housekeeping." - Winston Churchill, speech, Blackpool, October 5, 1946
"Liberalism (classical liberalism) has its own history and its own tradition. Socialism has its own formulas and aims. Socialism seeks to pull down wealth; Liberalism seeks to raise up poverty. Socialism would destroy private interests; Liberalism would preserve private interests in the only way in which they can be safely and justly preserved, namely, by reconciling them with public right. Socialism would kill enterprise; Liberalism would rescue enterprise from the trammels of privilege and preference. Socialism assails the pre-eminence of the individual; Liberalism seeks, and shall seek more in the future, to build up a minimum standard for the mass. Socialism exalts the rule; Liberalism exalts the man. Socialism attacks capital; Liberalism attacks monopoly." - Winston Churchill, Kinnaird Hall, Dundee, May 14, 1908.
"The British nation now has to make one of the most momentous choices in its history. That choice is between two ways of life: between individual liberty and State domination: between concentration of ownership in the hands of the State and the extension of a property-owning democracy; between a policy of increasing restraint and a policy of liberating energy and ingenuity: between a policy of levelling down and a policy of finding opportunities for all to rise upwards from a basic standard." - Winston Churchill, speech in Woodford, England, January 28, 1950.
"It is curious that, while in the days of my youth I was much reproached with inconsistency and being changeable, I am now scolded for adhering to the same views I had early in life and even of repeating passages from speeches which I made long before most of you were born. Of course the world moves on and we dwell in a constantly changing climate of opinion. But the broad principles and truths of wise and sane political actions do not necessarily alter with the changing moods of a democratic electorate. Not everything changes. Two and two still make four, and I could give you many other instances which go to prove that all wisdom is not new wisdom." - Winston Churchill, speech, Bele vue, Manchester, December 6, 1947.
"It is not Parliament that should rule; it is the people who should rule through Parliament." - Winston Churchill, speech, House of Commons. November 11, 1947.
"We have to combat the wolf of socialism, and we shall be able to do it far more effectively as a pack of hounds than as a flock of sheep." - Winston Churchill, speech, 1937.
:Athough it is now put forward in the main by people who have a good grounding in the Liberalism and Radicalism of the early part of this century, there can be no doubt that Socialism is inseparably interwoven with Totalitarianism and the abject worship of the State. It is not alone that property, in all its forms, is struck at, but that liberty, in all its forms, is challenged by the fundamental conceptions of Socialism." - Winston Churchill, B.B.C radio address, June 4, 1945.
"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." - Winston Churchill, House of Commons, October 22, 1945.
"Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy." - Winston Churchill, Perth, May 28, 1948.
"I do not wonder that British youth is in revolt against the morbid doctrine that nothing matters but the equal sharing of miseries: that what used to be called the submerged tenth can only be rescued by bringing the other nine-tenths down to their level; against the folly that it is better that everyone should have half rations rather than that any by their exertions, or ability, should earn a second helping." - Winston Churchill, London, June 22, 1948.
"Socialism is based on the idea of an all-powerful State which owns everything, which plans everything, which distributes everything, and thus through its politicians and officials decides the daily life of the individual citizen." - Winston Churchill, London, January 21, 1950.
"The British and Americans do not war with races or governments as such. Tyranny, external or internal, is our foe whatever trappings and disguises it wears, whatever language it speaks, or perverts." - Winston Churchill, Speech, Dorchester Hotel, London, July 4, 1953.
"You may try to destroy wealth, and find that all you have done is to increase poverty." - Winston Churchill, speech, House of Commons. March 12, 1947.
"Nor should it be supposed as you would imagine, to read some of the Left-wing newspaper, that all Americans are multi-millionaires of Wall Street. If they were all multi-millionaires that would be no reason for condemning a system which has produced such material results.: - Winston Churchill, speech, Royal Albert Hall, London. April 21, 1948.
"Rich men, although valuable to the revenue, are not vital to a healthy state of society, but a society in which rich men are got rid of, from motives of jealousy, is not a healthy state." - Winston Churchill, speech, House of Commons, April 24, 1950.
Shades of Jean Kerry’s medals!
The truth simply isn’t in these people. They will lie even when telling the truth would produce a more favorable story than the lie they come up with.
You lie! Ok, so it’s not original, but the shoe sure enough fits...
You lie! Ok, so it’s not original, but the shoe sure enough fits...
You lie! Ok, so it’s not original, but the shoe sure enough fits...
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