Crying 5-year-olds booted from White House (Biden not involved)

Plenty of time for the Pittsburgh Steelers but no time for five-year-old schoolkids? That's what angry parents are saying after their schoolbuses were told to turn around yesterday for being late for their scheduled tour of the White House.

It's not because the kindergartners were demanding the release of Dick Cheney's memos or anything. It's just that they were late. So they were told to hit the road.

It's a weighty and consequential story to ponder over this Memorial Day weekend. And if this rises to the level of an official gaffe, let's make one thing clear: Joe Biden was out of town.

More than 100 five-year-olds from Conway Elementary School in Stafford, Virginia, had a school field trip planned to the White House yesterday. But it was abruptly canceled.

And just like the Obama-Cheney feud, there are two sides to the story. Both will agree that the kids arrived late. The White House is saying that the appointment was scheduled for 9:30. Parents say they were told to arrive at 10:15.

Either way when the school buses arrived at 10:25, they were denied entry.


"The person who headed this White House trip up came out and said, 'I’m sorry, the White House tour's off.' There were a lot of crying kids," one parent said to NBC's Anne Reynolds.

The parents were reportedly told that staffers were preparing for the president's event with the Pittsburgh Steelers and there wasn't enough time to accommodate the tour.

As you can imagine, this didn't set well.

"Here we have President Obama and his administration saying, 'Here we are for the common, middle class people,' and here he is not letting 150 5- and 6-year-olds into the White House because he’s throwing a lunch for a bunch of grown millionaires," the parent said.


The White House, later in the day, went into apology mode releasing a statement

"The President and First Lady are dedicated to opening the doors of the White House to the public, and it is unfortunate to see young people miss a tour. The visitor’s office is already working to reschedule the group."


Could they have bent the rules? Perhaps. You wouldn't want them to stick around to watch the ceremony with the Steelers though. That would have been chaos. You can control adults (although Lawrence O'Donnell did go bonkers yesterday), but five-year olds? Not so much.

Regardless, there are plenty of other places the kids could have visited on the White House grounds and surely a warm and affable staffer (like Rahm Emanuel) could have had all the kids &*@#% laughing.

The website Deadspin deadpans, "Whatever. It's clear that Barack Obama loves Troy Polamalu more than he loves your kid. Now they know how Cardinal fans feel."


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