Vol. 5, Issue 5, September 11, 2007
Iraq Report Overshadowed by White House Furniture Crisis
White House officials are conducting an extensive investigation into the unauthorized reorganization of selected furniture in the Lincoln Bedroom. In a press conference, outgoing White House Press Secretary Tony Snow detailed the alleged movements of the furniture and pledged that the Administration would make "every effort" to determine who or what moved the furniture.
"We are at this time not ruling anything out," said Snow. "We have confirmed that both chairs and bedside tables were involved in this activity, and security is currently examining footage from the video surveillance system."
Reporters, who were expecting Snow to discuss the Government Accountability Office's progress report on the status of Iraq's 18 military and political goals, attempted unsuccessfully to divert the Press Secretary from the subject of the moved furniture.
"Forensic scientists have determined that the lace doilies atop each chair back may in fact be replacements," Snow persisted after being questioned about future timelines for the Iraqi government. "At this time, we are examining the possibilities that this substitution may have been motivated in part by profit - the originals could no doubt be sold on eBay for a considerable sum. We have not ruled out however that the substitution doilies, if that is what they are in fact, may pose a threat to White House staff and we are proceeding with all due diligence and caution."
As reporters continued to raise a variety of questions about troop casualties, the possibility of additional troops being sent to Iraq, and the credibility of General Petraeus, who contributed to the report, Snow doggedly put up comparative photographs of the Lincoln Bedroom from earlier this month and from yesterday. Several chairs were clearly out of position in the second photograph.
The furniture crisis has caused such a significant stir that other White House officials remained focused on the issue to the exclusion of all other concerns.
"In order to ensure the safety of the Administration, security staff is currently undertaking a thorough photographic inventory of the furniture in every room of the White House," said US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice when questioned about the cost of the Iraqi occupation. "Only a careful, chair by chair analysis can tell us if there is a wider pattern of furniture disruption, and whether we need to be concerned. I mean, what if the President was actually sitting in one of these chairs when it was moved without authorization?"
Brushing off what he called 'inappropriate' concern for the Iraq report in the face of such a serious security issue, Snow indicated that he would be sure to keep reporters updated on the status of the furniture analysis daily through the date of his departure on September 14. "I would be doing the media a disservice if I did not keep it apprised on the status of this extremely important investigation," he said solemnly as he folded up his chair charts at the conclusion of the press conference.
"Ah, Tony," said Washington Post reporter Garen Stoppard. "Tony, Tony, Tony. I'm going to miss you."