When is the Lincoln Bedroom Not the Lincoln Bedroom?
WASHINGTON - President Bush played host to dozens of overnight guests at the White House and Camp David last year, from world leaders to some of his most loyal supporters, including friends who double as campaign fund-raisers.Oh, so they just can't be famous fundraisers. Flip-Flop. Tumblin'.
Bush and first lady Laura Bush have invited at least 270 people to stay at the White House and at least the same number to overnight at the Camp David retreat since coming to Washington in January 2001, according to lists the White House provided The Associated Press.
Elton Bomer, a lobbyist, Bush donor and former Democratic lawmaker who served in then-Texas Gov. Bush's administration, said his stay in the White House living quarters was like visiting friends in a 'a very nice home.'
'The mattresses are very, very nice and the pillows are very nice,' said Bomer, who visited in October 2002 with about 18 other Texans. 'It's not ostentatious at all. There's no gilded gold leaf or anything like that.'
Some Bush guests stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom, a historic room that gained fame in the Clinton administration amid allegations that Democrats were rewarding big donors such as Hollywood celebrities Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand with accommodations there. In all, the Clinton family invited at least 938 overnight guests to the White House in their first four years.
Bush's criticism of the Clinton fund-raising scandal is one of the reasons the White House identifies guests. In a debate with Vice President Al Gore in October 2000, Bush said: 'I believe they've moved that sign, 'The buck stops here,' from the Oval Office desk to 'The buck stops here' on the Lincoln Bedroom. And that's not good for the country.'
Bush's overnight guest roster is virtually free of the famous— pro golfer Ben Crenshaw is the biggest name — but not of campaign supporters.