I can't speak to Pfeiffer. I think it more likely that he was as uninformed as most people seemed to've been about there being two Churchill busts and, believing there was only the one, which he's seen with his own eyes outside the Treaty Room in the residence, said the story about it being sent back was a falsehood. But maybe he did know the truth, and did intentionally lie.
I'm less sold on the rest. The Bush administration received the bust that they had as a loan for the length of his first term, and then that was extended through the length of his second. Doesn't that make the Bush administration responsible for returning it (along with other items they had been loaned for the length of his time in office) at the conclusion of his Presidency? I'm not saying Bush was in the office rolling things up in old newspaper--any more than folks accuing Obama are saying he licked the stamps on the package that sent Churchill #2 back--but wouldn't it be Bush's outgoing transition team making sure all the items loaned to them during their administration were returned?
But ok, let's say the incoming Obama transition team or the permanent White House staff agreed to take care of that for the Bush folks, and that Obama was in office and therefore "responsible" for sending the thing back--and especially for refusing the Brit's offer to extend the loan thru his term(s) in office, which he actually did do, maybe even personally, even. So what?
Why does it show disdain for Churchill, England, Israel, or any other person or country for him not to continue an art loan whose time was up? Apparently, the White House already had a bust of Churchill--which makes one wonder where that one, the one we received as a gift during the Johnson administration, was all during the Bush administration. Did Bush have both on display, or did the Obama administration go to the trouble of getting the original Churchill bust out of storage and displaying it, showing admiration, not contempt, for the man and his country? And for that matter, where was the Churchill bust during the rest of the presidencies since we received it, and would it also show disdain for England if Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton did not have it in the Oval?
And further still, why do some conservatives find it preferable for this Democratic President to have the bust of an Englishman in the Oval Office, rather than a bust of one of the great American Presidents--and a Republican, no less--from whom the man says he draws inspiration?
The whole nontrovercy seems awful silly to me... ...but just the same, maybe we need a congressional inquiry to get to the bottom of the whole mess. I'm most interested in getting a complete tick-tock--finding out exactly where that Churchill bust gifted to the White House during the Johnson administration has been during each Presidential administration, and why Dubya had to get a loaner in the first place. (Did he drop the original and need to get it repaired? Enquiring minds want to know...) The truth is out there...
NOTE: I posted a version of this comment to the Hill blog around 2:00 AM, 7/31/12. As I was reading it over right after it appeared, I noticed I misspelled a word, and wanted to change the flow of a sentence or two, and hit edit. When I hit "save changes," a pop-up appeared saying my comment was being held for moderation. 12 hours later, it still hadn't appeared, so I found and adapted a second version I had posted elsewhere--this version--and posted that. Unfortunately, the act of cutting and pasting removed all the paragraph breaks in the resulting comment. I hit edit, put them back in and--knowing what was probably going to happen--hit save changes. Needless to say, the comment is being held for moderator approval, again. But at least I have a copy of this one--though damn, I really do think the first one I submitted and lost was more well-written... I got all the elements in there, I think, but I just couldn't recapture the flow and feel of the original... Oh well, shit happens... (If this comment doesn't appear from moderation either, I'll carefully, CAREFULLY resubmit it again in another 12 hours or so... and make no edits, no matter what happens...
This comment--in it's original, unadapted form--appears at Commentary Magazine: Re: Where’s Winston? � Commentary Magazine The one I posted to The Hill the first time, was the best version, though... Shoulda just left that dang misspelled word...