Obama has sent Sir Winston Churchill packing, offending British diplomats.
A bronze bust of former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill--once voted the greatest Briton in history--which was loaned to George W. Bush from the Government's art collection after the September 11 attacks, has now been ignominiously returned to the British Embassy in Washington DC.
The bronze by Sir Jacob Epstein, was loaned to George Bush by Tony Blair in 2001 from the UK Government Art Collection for the duration of his presidency. When the President was elected for his second and final term, the loan was extended until January 2009.
Britain wants President Obama to put the bust back in the Oval Office, where it stood for the past eight years as a symbol of an enduring special relationship with America. A spokesman for the British Embassy in Washington said, “The bust of Sir Winston Churchill by Sir Jacob Epstein was uniquely lent to a foreign head of state, President George W. Bush, from the Government Art Collection in the wake of 9/11 as a signal of the strong transatlantic relationship. We have made it clear that we would be pleased to extend the loan should Mr. Obama so wish.” Obama said, "Thanks, but no thanks."
UK Newspapers reported the incident with chagrin, including the Telegraph who made their feelings on the matter clear by placing—on the same webpage—a video of Obama clumsily banging his head on a helicopter doorway: