Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

More Michelle Obama staff appointments


Updated Aug. 6, 2009

I noticed a lot of comments about Mrs. Obama staff salaries coming in to this post referring to an earlier column I wrote over at PoliticsDaily. The original article on what Mrs. Obama's staff earns ran in July at PoliticsDaily

below from release...

Mrs. Michelle Obama Announces More Key Staff for First Lady's Office

WASHINGTON - Mrs. Michelle Obama today announced the following staff for the First Lady's Office: David Medina as Deputy Chief of Staff, Jocelyn Frye as Director of Policy and Projects, Trooper Sanders as Deputy Director of Policy and Projects, Franny Starkey Sanguin as Director of Scheduling and Advance, Jennifer Goodman as Deputy Director of Scheduling and Events, Dana M. Lewis as Personal Aide, Kristen Jarvis as Special Assistant for Scheduling and Traveling Aide, Tyler Lechtenberg as Director of Correspondence, Ebs Burnough as Deputy Social Secretary, Joe Reinstein as Deputy Social Secretary, Sally Armbruster as Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary, Joe Boswell as Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff, and Natalie Bookey as Staff Assistant.

"We are continuing to build a strong and experienced team and I couldn't be more pleased with the smart, energetic and dedicated individuals that we are bringing into our office," said Mrs. Michelle Obama. "I look forward to working with this talented group next week."

Background information on Mrs. Obama's staff announcements are below:

David Medina - Deputy Chief of Staff for the First Lady

David Medina currently works for the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, a national coalition which promotes increased U.S. investments in development and diplomacy. Mr. Medina previously served as the political director of Senator John Edwards' presidential campaign and as a legislative representative for the AFL-CIO. David has also served as the Deputy CEO of the 2004 Democratic National Convention, policy director for the Democratic National Committee, and legislative assistant for U.S. Senator Carol Moseley-Braun. David received his B.A. from the University of Chicago and M.P.P. from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Jocelyn Frye - Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and Director of Policy and Projects for the First Lady

Jocelyn Frye serves as General Counsel at the National Partnership for Women & Families in Washington, DC. She directs the National Partnership's Workplace Fairness Program and, in that capacity, focuses primarily on a wide range of employment and gender discrimination issues, with a particular emphasis on employment barriers facing women of color and low-income women.

Frye has extensive experience working on issues related to equal employment opportunity and workplace fairness. Her work includes monitoring and analyzing the effectiveness of federal equal employment enforcement efforts. She has testified before Congress and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on federal enforcement of employment discrimination laws. Ms. Frye received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1985 with a double major in Political Science and English, and her law degree from Harvard Law School in 1988. After graduating from law school, she worked as an associate at Crowell & Moring, a Washington, DC law firm, concentrating in the white-collar crime and labor law practice areas. Ms. Frye is a native of Washington, DC, and is involved in a number of community and volunteer activities.

Trooper Sanders - Deputy Director of Policy and Projects for the First Lady

Trooper Sanders was a White House policy advisor and speechwriter to Tipper Gore, and a policy aide to former Vice President Al Gore. He most recently served as domestic policy advisor at the William J. Clinton Foundation. Trooper has served in a variety of program, communications and leadership positions for leading U.S. and international organizations advancing social progress ranging from the American Constitution Society to The Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum. A native of Detroit, Michigan, he has lived in the United Kingdom and, as a Robert Bosch Foundation fellow, Germany. Trooper has an A.B., in Global Political Economy from the University of Michigan and an MSc., in Regulation (Financial and

Commercial) from the London School of Economics. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Forum for Youth Investment and the Northeast Regional Board of Operation HOPE.

Franny Starkey Sanguin - Director of Scheduling and Advance for the First Lady

Franny Starkey Sanguin joined the Obama campaign in February of 2007 as the Iowa Trip Director, where she oversaw all principal and surrogate travel in the state. She took a brief absence from the campaign to serve as the Director of the Colorado Convention Center, headquarters for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in her hometown of Denver, Colorado. Prior to the Obama 2008 presidential cycle, Sanguin worked in Minnesota as Director of Scheduling and Advance for Sen. Amy Klobuchar's successful U.S. Senate campaign and as Communications Director for Terri Bonoff's campaign for Congress in the3rd District. Sanguin's experience includes stints as Director of Scheduling and Advance for Howard Dean's 2003 Iowa Caucus campaign, for Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack's 2002 reelection campaign and as the Deputy Director of Communications in Vilsack's administration. Sanguin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. She is married to Ken Sanguin.

Jennifer Goodman - Deputy Director of Scheduling & Events for the First Lady

Jennifer Goodman served as Michelle Obama's Director of Scheduling on the Obama campaign and the Obama-Biden Transition Team. Prior to joining the campaign, Jennifer worked for Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) for more than five years, serving as Scheduler in his Senate office and Trip Director and Director of Scheduling on his 2007 presidential campaign. She has also worked on the media team for the public relations firm Hill and Knowlton. A native of New Hampshire, Jennifer began her career with the 2002 U.S. Senate campaign of Governor Jeanne Shaheen. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in international affairs from the George Washington University.

Dana M. Lewis - Personal Aide to the First Lady

Dana M. Lewis came to Washington, DC in 1993 to pursue a career in politics. Hailing from Weston, Connecticut, Ms. Lewis graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. Ms. Lewis began her career as an intern with the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Since then, she has worked for Members of both the House and the Senate, including Representative Bobby Scott, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Senator Barbara Boxer, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Her issue areas of expertise ranged from education, labor, civil rights, and criminal justice policy.

In May 2007, Ms. Lewis was hired by Obama for America to work on the advance team for presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama. After the President-elect's victory in November 2008, Ms. Lewis was hired by the Presidential Inaugural Committee to work on the Congressional Relations team. In January 2009, she will serve as future First Lady Michelle Obama's personal aide.

Kristen Jarvis - Special Assistant for Scheduling and Traveling Aide for the First Lady

After graduating from Spelman College, Kristen began her political career working on the leadership staff of former Majority Leader of the United States Senate, Tom Daschle. Kristen then served as Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff to Senator Barack Obama in the United States Senate from 2004-2007. When Senator Obama announced his Presidential Bid, Kristen was tapped by the campaign to relocate to Nevada where she served as the State Scheduler for both Senator and Mrs. Obama, and Surrogate Scheduler for elected officials and celebrities traveling to Nevada on behalf of Senator Obama. When the Nevada caucuses concluded, Kristen joined the National Advance team as a Press Lead, coordinating press logistics for campaign town halls and rallies across the country. Kristen spent the remaining months on the campaign trail as the Body Person/Special Assistant to Michelle Obama where it was her responsibility to take care of all personal needs for Mrs. Obama.

Tyler Lechtenberg -Director of Correspondence for the First Lady

Tyler Lechtenberg currently serves as Deputy Director of Volunteers for the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Prior to this, he worked on the Obama campaign as a Regional Field Director in Central Iowa for the General Election, proceeded by primary-season stops in Louisville, Kentucky; Youngstown, Ohio; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Marshalltown, Iowa. He spent three years working as an award-winning sports writer for The Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette and has worked as a writer for the Marketing Department at Portland (OR) Community College.

Ebs Burnough - Deputy Social Secretary

Prior to joining Mrs. Obama's team, Ebs Burnough served as the Political Director for 1199SEIU in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Ebs has also worked for SEIU as a political analyst and director of operations in the New York office. During the 2004 Presidential Election, Ebs served as the Deputy Communications Director in Missouri, for America Coming Together. In addition, Ebs was the Executive Director of Congressman Jerry Nadler's Political Action Committee.

Joe Reinstein - Deputy Social Secretary

Joe Reinstein has been marketing products, environmental awareness and social justice for 21 years. Among other achievements, Joe helped change perceptions of the United Way by redefining its brand from charity clearinghouse to community impact organization. Before joining the White House Social Secretary staff, Joe was VP Marketing at Medline Industries, the nation's largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of healthcare products. Joe was a founding board member of Cool Globes, a non-profit organization established to raise awareness of global warming and inspire individuals and community leaders to embrace solutions. Launched in Chicago, Cool Globes' public art exhibit has traveled to San Diego and Washington DC and will appear in Houston, Los Angeles and London in 2009. Joe is also a board member and marketing committee chair of the Anti-Defamation League Midwest Region. Joe and his wife Hannah Higgins are proud parents of Zoe (age 13) and Nathalie (age 9).

Sally Armbruster - Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary

Sally Armbruster has 10 years of experience working in event planning and design. She recently founded a personal assistance and event management company with a special focus in charitable organizations. Sally received a Bachelor of Science in Art from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 2006. Sally hails from Lake Bluff, Illinois.

Joe Boswell - Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff for the First Lady

Joe Boswell spent the last year and half working on the Obama Campaign most recently as Regional Field Director on the Campaign for Change in Ohio during the General Election. Joe began on the campaign as a Field Organizer in the Iowa Caucus before going on to organize in Texas, organize youth outreach at Arizona State University, and become a regional director Pennsylvania during the primary election. Before the campaign, Joe worked at Robinson, Lerer, and Montgomery, a strategic communications firm in New York. There he worked closely with the firm's senior management to develop communications strategy and learn about media consulting. Joe attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where he studied government and played rugby. He grew up in Northern California.

Natalie Bookey - Staff Assistant

Natalie currently serves as the Managing Director of the Inaugural Finance Committee at the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Prior to this, she worked on the Obama campaign's finance team in Chicago. Natalie is a native of Des Moines, Iowa and studied Journalism, Spanish Language and Women's Studies at George Washington University. After graduating Natalie traveled to South America and returned to the U.S. to work at WGN News in Chicago where she researched, wrote, and edited video for news stories as well as conducted interviews and produced packages for broadcast.


I strongly believe that this is an opportunity for change for all people, of all ages, colors, backgrounds. The hope for America is becoming an unified effort and I think everyone should move forward with their dreams and passions. For me, Michelle Obama is an excellent role model and example of what a "dark-skinned" African-American woman can continue to dream and hope for in obtaining in America -- a leadership position that is recognized honored by many. My spirit continues to be lifted and my image will remain untainted. Wishing Michelle Obama's staff all the best with many blessings to follow!!

I'm not sure I understand why the First Lady needs such a large staff seeing as she holds no elected position. I realize First Ladies have social engagements and PR work that is expected of them, but how much is all this staff costing the US taxpayers?

I am so glad to see a First Lady with a strong head on her shoulders. I could care less about how many staff members she employs! I do care about the image and tasks she plans to spearhead. I see Michelle doing great things and I wish her the best.

I mean the last first lady we had was a librarian not a lawyer! Therefore I guess she did not need a staff as big!

To Marla in Florida,

Did you ask that same question when Laura Bush was in the White House? I'm sure she had a large staff as well. Or, maybe you can't stand the fact that this administration is not trying to hide anything, because you know as well as I do that we are not used to knowing what is going on in Washington. Not slighting Mrs. Bush.

First Lady Michelle Obama have shown the world
how gracious and intelligent she is. The picture she paints with her smile and her embracing the
wide-eyed children with her passion for History speaks volumes. The message from the Obama's are we are the people and it started January 20, 2009.

This old small county democratic chair in Ohio had the plesure of working with Joe Boswell in the fall of 08 and based upon my personal observations of Joe's commitment and dedication I can state that the First Lady has aquired a first rate executive assistant....Go Joe!!!

Socrates J. Space, Tuscarawas County Ohio Democrat Party Chair

Wow! Why does Michelle Obama need so many staffs to support her? What elected government position does she hold? Who sets the limit for her expense? Her husband? Who over-sights their lavish lifestyles?

Susan--Michelle has given a lot of people jobs. Who cares....I'm sure each First Lady had a number of people employed to assist them with their job promoting the USA.

2.2 million in staff wages. Its all on the web.

Mrs. Obama is a stunning woman, obviously confident and playful with regard to her fashion choices. I love her in simple, well-cut, solid color outfits, especially black, blues and purples. However, the prints that she so often wears camouflage her most graceful and interesting qualities which, as a whole, make her unique and outstanding on the world stage! I am surprised that her consultants haven't seen this.

Between Czars fo the President and Staff for Michelle how could we possibly have unemplotment at 10%?

These people believe they rule the world and everyone is happy with them. He can't run anything, yet alone the government. She can't do anything by herself apparently. 2010 will teach him how unhappy we are. 2012 both of them will learn it.

The Washington bubble has them believing their own inflated opinions of themselves. We, the common folks, have quite another opinion. The 2010 ewlection will sent a clear message to Obama and his cast of Robin Hoods!

For people to not be alarmed at such a big staff (with incredibly high salaries to boot when the country is literally bankrupt) is alarming itself. I could care less how stunning this woman is or if she is a lawyer. What on earth would this woman need a policy advisor for? And I can place a bet that Mrs. Bush DID NOT have nearly the staff that this woman maintains - in fact, I am going to research it right now and come up with the actual numbers on this. It's becoming clearer to me that the real reason this country is in as much trouble as it is is not entirely the fault of our politicians, the blame sits largely on the shoulders of people like you who find no fault with the First Lady employing staff that costs the taxpayers over 2.2 million dollars a year. This is ridiculous. Wake up America. No matter how hard the media tries to paint her, this woman is not Queen of America nor has this country slipped back into Imperialism. Our forefathers would be clawing in their coffins to see what is happening -- this is the very thing they designed the Constitution to avoid.

Dear : Friend
All you do or say is just a fun, Mr and Mrs Obama
play a trick with tax payer, he said if we elect him he will do everything for us, he just want to be who he is, he just do for the rich and richest just like him, why we have to paid million dollar for Michell Obama, I just ask why? can obama and Michell give the public the answse to public. Just wait for the answers,if he or she can't give the answer, that meant he and she are not qualify for the job
thanks and have a good date

Apparently Angelina could care less about the cost of Mrs. Obama's staff.
Using popular lazy grammar Angelina has really pronounced her concern for the vulgar overindulgent staffing by Mrs. Obama.
If you could care less, then you must care more...if ya gets my meaning Angelina. And you might try spending some time in a library. Maybe brush up a little on your grammar. You are so enthusiastic about Mrs. Obama's plans that I'll bet you wouldn't mind footing the bill for her staff payroll and get it off taxpayers backs.

I have to agree with Maria-FL back in February. First Ladies do not need or require staff. And while First Lady Bush was a librarian and school teacher, Michelle defunked her own attorney status by turning in her law license as did Barack Obama in 2007 while campaigning for having been caught by the Illinois Bar for lying under oath. Imagine studying law for several years, passing the Bar and having nothing to show for it! And I find Laura Bush beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. This administration has usurped the American taxpayers' money for their own self interest. Basically, most of you are plain ignorant that this chicago mob style administration isn't hiding anything?! Have you guys read any of the legislative bills they have been shoving? NO, you have not! And Joe is top rate because he specializes in an area that is suitable for the purposes of this administration - not necessarily for the PEOPLE. Get educated folks!

"In my own life, in my own small way, I have tried to give back to this country that has given me so much," she said. "See, that's why I left a job at a big law firm for a career in public service, " Michelle Obama

The First Lady requires more than 20 attendants!

No, Michele Obama does not get paid to serve as the First Lady and she doesn't perform any official duties. But this hasn't deterred her from hiring an unprecedented number of staffers to cater to her every whim and to satisfy her every request in the midst of the Great Recession.

Just think Mary Lincoln was taken to task for purchasing china for the White House during the Civil War. And Mamie Eisenhower had to shell out the salary for her own personal secretary.

How things have changed! If you're one of the tens of millions of Americans facing certain destitution, earning less than subsistence wages stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart or serving up McDonald cheeseburgers, prepare to scream and then come to realize that the benefit package for these servants of Miz Michelle are the same as members of the national security and defense departments and the bill for these assorted lackeys is paid by John Q. Public:

1. $172,2000 - Sher, Susan (Chief Of Staff)

2. $140,000 - Frye, Jocelyn C. (Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy And Projects For The First Lady)

3. $113,000 - Rogers, Desiree G. (Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary)

4. $102,000 - Johnston, Camille Y. (Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady)

5. $90,000 - Winter, Melissa E. (Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

6. $90,000 - Medina , David S. (Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

7. $84,000 - Lelyveld, Catherine M. (Director and Press Secretary to the First Lady)

8. $75,000 - Starkey, Frances M. (Director of Scheduling and Advance for the First Lady)

9. $70,000 - Sanders, Trooper (Deputy Director of Policy and Projects for the First Lady)

10. $65,000 - Burnough, Erinn J. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)

11. Reinstein, Joseph B. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)

12. $62,000 - Goodman, Jennifer R. (Deputy Director of Scheduling and Events Coordinator For The First Lady)

13. $60,000 - Fitts, Alan O. (Deputy Director of Advance and Trip Director for the First Lady)

14. $90,000 - Lewis, Dana M. (Special Assistant and Personal Aide to the First Lady)

15. $52,500 - Mustaphi, Semonti M. (Associate Director and Deputy Press Secretary To The First Lady)

16. $50,000 - Jarvis, Kristen E. (Special Assistant for Scheduling and Traveling Aide To The First Lady)

17. $45,000 - Lechtenberg, Tyler A. (Associate Director of Correspondence For The First Lady)

18. $45,000 - Tubman, Samantha (Deputy Associate Director, Social Office)

19. $40,000 - Boswell, Joseph J. (Executive Assistant to the Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)

20. $36,000 - Armbruster, Sally M. (Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary)

21. $40,000 Bookey, Natalie (Staff Assistant)

22. $40,000 - Jackson, Deilia A. (Deputy Associate Director of Correspondence for the First Lady)

Let's not forget makeup artist
Ingrid Grimes-Miles, 49, and "First Hairstylist"
Johnny Wright, 31, both of whom travelled aboard Air Force One to Europe ..

Never has there been anyone in the White House with such an army of staffers whose sole duties are the facilitation of the First Lady's social life.

That's $1,332,762.00 assuming #11. Reinstein should get about $65,000, #14. $90,000 - Lewis would get $60,000 if these are to be in decending order. Then add in Ingrid and Johnny, make up. VP

One wonders why she needs so much help, at taxpayer expense when even Hillary, only had three; Jackie Kennedy one; Laura Bush one; and prior to Mamie Eisenhower social help came our of the President's own pocket.

you should put down the salaries of each staff person and total it at the bottom

I am appalled to think we the people don't call an end to the size of the staff for our First Lady Michele Obama. She thinks she is a fashion Queen, goes on dates with her husband and eats rich expensive food. There are people that can't afford bread, and the Obama's are eating well and drinking martini's.
How could we have been so dumb to let this husband and wife get into the White House.
Barack thinks he is a rock star, and Michele thinks she is a Hollywood star.
Both of them make my blood curdle.
Let's hear less about Michele and kids, have Barack start doing what he promised to do, make changes, but not for betterment of Barack & Michele.

Some people seek to serve while others seek to be served. Some people seek to lead while other people seek to rule. Some people seek change only to the extent that they can be the top dog and have all the political and financial powers. Our country has had a history of outstanding people from both political parties that sought to serve and lead this country during challenging times in our history. I don't see those desirable qualities in either of the members of the current white house family. I am still amazed that the current first lady has such a record of disliking this country and, now that she has such a lofty position, she does the same type of self-serving actions that she has criticized in the past. Does moving to a high position in society somehow change the rules so that this is now acceptable? I hope that everyone appreciates the transparency that has allowed these reports so that they can see the reality of the people who pretend to be the leaders of our country.

I find it very interesting how the comments have changed since the first ones where posted in January - approving of the large staff and complimenting Ms. Obama for being an 'excellent role model', 'gracious and intelligent', having 'a strong head on her shoulders', creating jobs, and having great fashion sense! Some of the early ones saw this atrocity for what it is but all of the later posts are revealing more and more outrage. We are supposed to have a president and first lady not an omnipotent king and queen. Is America finally waking up? I can only hope.

I don't understand exactly why the US is paying for all these staff members. It's like buying $500.00 tennis shoes when the rest of us shop at Goodwill. The sign of great leadership is that those in positios of power are willing to take the cut just like everyone else. This is a very, very sad statment in a country where people losing homes, jobs, and cannot afford medical care. Shame, shame, shame. P. S. I voted for Obama. I thought he and Mrs. Obama were more down to earth. My bad.

I am the mother of four grown children and grandmother of sixteen. One of my four (with a wife and two children to support) is going further in debt daily because he has been laid off due to downsizing three times in the last four years, and his current job pays barely above minimum wage. (I do thank God, however, that he at least has a job when so many don't.) The other three and their families struggle to keep their heads above water. Michelle Obama's statement that she "couldn't be more pleased" with her staff makes my blood boil!!! Staff, indeed!! My kids (two of whom with their spouses are teachers) struggle while she plays!! I can't believe our nation, as a whole, has been ignorant enough to put her and her totally inexperienced husband in the White House. Unfortunately, I believe we are all just beginning to see the suffering and, yes, even oppression that America is headed for.

I just received an e-mail listing all of Michelle Obama's Whitehouse staff and said I didn't believe it. But when I checked it is true. This is a disgrace. Please somebody let us know if Laura Bush had a similar staff??

Hillary had 3. Laura Bush 1, Jackie Kennedy 1 and prior to Mamie Eisenhauer any were paid for out of the Presidents wages.Is this the change you all voted for?

I think it is appaling how much we taxpayers are shelling out for the first lady---how many companies could all of that money bail out?? stop the recession??

Stop supporting the first lady-let her husband!

If she is so great and with all that staff whats the deal with the rinky-dink gift to the Queen of England? No wonder there are no cost of living increases this year and next, she is using a lot of it. Excellent role model - look at what the DEVIL got us into!!!!

Now I remember why I didn't vote for Obama. While the rest of the country is hurting, he and Michele Obama are totally out of touch with reality. Someone needs to reign in these two people.

This seems really like overkill. How many Special Assistants does one need? Or is this a case of them bringing a bit of "home" to the White House and providing jobs. If it is true that previous first ladies (Jackie, Hillary, Laura, etc.) did not overstaff - this must be the "change" everyone who voted wanted.

Why all the vitriol from commenters? Most of these positions are paid the normal rate of any private position of the same influence. Additionally, I have yet to see ANYONE post the staffs of preceding first ladies, complete with salaries, and adjusted for the dollar value that exists today. I have confidence that the Obamas, as well as the majority of the current administration, know who is needed to be on hand to accomplish the assignments of the President & First Lady. I'm sure that they are aware that there is disapproval on some fronts regarding the size of the staff & where taxpayers' dollars are going, and that they would gladly look into cost reduction and position elimination if it was needed.

Perhaps instead of jumping to conclusions, people should look into acquiring more details.

This hatred in America is intolerable.

Pay attention, Ratgurl. I don't need to see the "salaries adjusted for the dollar value that exists today" for the TWO or THREE staffers employed by previous First Ladies to know that Mrs. Obama is beyond excessive; and neither one of us 'knows' that "they would gladly look into...position elimination if it was needed." It IS needed...but apparently you can't see that either. No one is jumping to conclusions...the facts are verified and published. And, finally, you're not reading "hatred"'re reading discontent, disappointment and anger. There's a difference. This President was presumably elected to represent the American People, and so far he seems to be representing his personal family quite well indeed, and a few special interest groups. The rest of us are just angry and worried about how much damage can he do in four years. It is disconcerting, to say the least. It does not appear that they care about most of us or what we think - and it appears that there is not a doggone thing we can do about it. Lord help us...

Poor American people are being made total fools of by such actions as this article shows. Unemployment at nearly 10% and Michele Obama throwing tax payer dollars around like confetti, it is truly sickening.What could she do that would be worth one forth the amount of money wasted?

Please let us be fair here. Talk about spending the taxpayers money!

I don't read any comments here about Pres. Bush and F. L. Laura Bush when they took their "Farewell Tour" in Pres. Bush's last 6 months of office. The "long goodbye" to Europe was to Solvinia, Germany, Italy and Rome, France and Britan. We were in a VERY SERIOUS financial crisis in years 2007 - 2009 when they made their trip. Then in December 2008 he took yet another foreign trip not to mention all his family, friends and the dog! Where were the outcries back then!

Yet on another trip, F. L. Laura Bush took a trip to Paris, Budapest and Prague along with daughter Jenna, a 20 yr. old student and top aide, Karen Hughes. Later, FL L. Bush, joined President Bush in Berlin for yet another week of travel through Germany, Russia, France and Italy. Her European trip was a "mix of old friends, new business and a pinch or two of politics."

F.L. Michelle Obama is strong, beautiful, hard working, patriotic woman, loving mother and faithful wife. She does NOT deserve to be demonized by the media and RNC in the manner which she currently is.

This is nothing but racial hatred towards F. L. Michelle Obama.

Oh, and I forget this in my first post.

Just for the record...FLOTUS has the exact number of staff members as did Laura Bush even when we were in a financial crisis back then... during the ~Cheney~ Administration.

Check it out on and Truth or Fiction.

Wow: This sounds like the Queen of of some rich country with a staff n like that.. With 10% un-imployment and growing, maybe Ms Obama could hire a few un-employed from Phoenix. Sounds like the budget is unlimited.

It appears to me the Obamas are thumbing their noses at the nation and it isn't much we can do as individuals. But together we can respond with our e-mails in support of people like Lynn Sweet.

What do we do? These people are thumbing their noses at the Nation and we have to put up with it. That is, until the next election and let us hope we come to our senses and get rid of these plunderers.

Watching these 2 grifters foist their scam on the American people is like living a real life re-make of the broadway stage play, Evita.

This award-winning play depicted the rise and fall of dictator, Juan Peron, and his wife Eva. Two power-hungry con artists who fooled the people of Argentina into believing they were tirelessly working on behalf of the poor working class; the 'descamisados' (shirtless ones), all the while stockpiling over ten million dollars of the peasants' taxes, deposited into their Swiss bank accounts.

From an impoverished background as a sleazy tango dancer, Eva manipulated her way to the top, as the wife of the most powerful man in Argentina. Captivating the mesmerized peasants, young and old alike, she pretended concern for their plight, but all the while stealing them blind behind their backs.

History is repeating itself in our time. We have our own Juan and Evita, smiling and waving at every photo-op, while their posse is busy working behind the scenes to bring this country to its economic knees, and in the process, destroy anyone in its way.

Eat the cake and Kool-Aid and phony platitudes they're serving while you can, folks. Your next meal may be Soylent Green.

Socialists and communists always spend the taxpayers money on large staffs. They are incapable of doing anything for themselves or taking any responsibility for themselves. No, Laura Bush did not have the staff that michelle obama has. michelle obama stunning???(#A(# Yuck.

Check your facts, folks. There is partisan politics everywhere! According to

Kim Coryat, an archives technician at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, told us it can be difficult to nail down a precise count of staff considering "White House staffing for all offices ebbs and flows with time." But she said in an e-mail that White House telephone directory records indicate that Hillary Clinton had at least a staff of 13 as of October 1993; 18 as of April 1997; and 19 as of March 2000.

Lelyveld said that Michelle Obama’s staff was actually no different than that of her predecessor, Laura Bush. "[W]e have exactly the same staff number as Mrs. Bush and our office organization reflects a similar staffing model, so insinuations otherwise are wrong," she said. Lelyveld said that the White House’s "personnel records indicate" that there were 24 staffers for Laura Bush at some point. We were able to verify at least 18 staffers for Laura Bush, as of June 30, 2008

Why does everyone always want to make everything a Republican-Democrat; conservative-liberal battle. The lesson to be learned is that ALL government wastes BILLIONS of our TAX money every year and we do NOT hold them accountable.

Our country and states are broke and repubs and dems alike continue to spend the citizens money like drunken sailors.

Look at the recent town hall meetings... representatives telling us they are doing us a favor to be there, answering cell phone calls in the middle of a citizen's question, others refusing to have a meeting. I thought elected officials were supposed to server the citizens in a democracy. Corruption and arrogance are rising within both parties. Spending 1.8 million per year on any first lady's staff is just one of many examples of government waste. The citizens of the country need to wake up and demand respect from our elected officials.

With such a large and diverse staff with interesting resumes/experiences makes you wonder what Mrs. Obama's role might be in the administration beside the obvious ones of First Lady, First Mom, and First Wife. I wonder which of these people hoes the garden behind the White House?

When I first saw the circulating e-mail I han no idea why a First Lady would need so many staff. But
1) I didn't know if it was true
2) I didn't know how it compared to previous first ladies
3) I have never been 1st Lady so the fact I didn't know how many were needed meant nothing.

It was not difficult to find out the part of the e-mail listing Michelle's staff was mostly true and that it was absolutely in line with previous first ladies. I still don't know why they are needed, most of us who haven't worked in the white house would.

Rather than be ashamed of fellow citizens I assume that previous posters who were so insulting and ready to believe the worst (including Martha, Elle, Bud Bussells, Mick Davis, Jay Clark, DowntownDJ,
Les Buchan, Joann Torvik, William E Tucker,Barb, Judith Waits, Freida B, Summer, Hai van Bui, Gordon France, 2Smart4U, Mike Stratton, Ann M, Grandpa Grizzly, Connie Jones, Ray Lucera, Joyce...)have been very busy trying to find the right words to apologize for their crude words...or perhaps trying to find equally insulting comments about President and Laura Bush.

I hope it's not the latter. Laura has always seemed so kind I would hate to see her insulted. Likewise Michelle seems kind and caring and I'm sure those who aren't hypocrites will be back any minute to express their regret.

We have a president who came into office facing more foreign and domestic crises than any in our lifetime. He works hard day after day. Even if we don't agree with his policies he deserves our respect and has done absolutely nothing to deserve the venom and lies spewed out by the unhappy minority. He is doing the very things he said he would as he campaigned and he won the election. Keep in mind that the bank and auto bail outs started with the previous administration.

That people would automatically accept what comes in an e-mail is hard to understand. Facts are good things to learn,...though as Colbert says...facts have a well known liberal bias.

Anything to distract America from the real issues.

Michelle Obama is entitled to whatever staff she feels is necessary to achieve her goals as 1st lady.

These people are supposed to be public servants, not celebrities. NO ONE requires this many aids, let alone the First Lady. Marie Antoinette, anyone?

"The chain e-mail’s author claims that "[t]here has never been anyone in the White House at any time that has created such an army of staffers whose sole duties are the facilitation of the First Lady’s social life." The author claims that "even Hillary, only had three; Jackie Kennedy one; Laura Bush one." But the counts for those first ladies are incorrect – and they’re way off."

"Lelyveld said that Michelle Obama’s staff was actually no different than that of her predecessor, Laura Bush."

First,I want to say in response to Jay: I believe Harry Truman came into office with more thrown on his shoulders than any other president..Study the history about the transition.

Second: America was so eager for "change" that I saw tee-shirts in every neighborhood in the months before Obama was elected...Well here is the change..Be careful what you wish for.Everywhere I went I hear "First African American president.yada,yada."..I was very disappointed not to hear Obama squash that title and say simply that he is an American -period.The fact is he is no more black than white..

Yes,the change is here!! Wake up,People!!I just heard that the Obama children have their own clothes designer..Those same styles are sold at Walmart!And who cares that they are made with more quality? The girls will outgrow them before they wear out.This was on the air when showing parts of the vacation. Mrs.Obama dresses tacky in my opinion...That dress she wore for the swearing in(I believe) made her look like a black widow.

As for common courtesy..Who has ever hugged the Queen of England??? And what dignified man doesn't bow to her??

Come on,People!! You got the change!!!!

PLEASE STOP SPREADING the lies in these comments that Laura Bush had 1 staff member and Hillary 3. According to the 2008 White House Staff list, there were EIGHTEEN (18) employees listed on the First Lady staff, who were paid a total of $1.4 million a year.

White House telephone directory records indicate that Hillary Clinton had at least a staff of 13 as of October 1993; 18 as of April 1997; and 19 as of March 2000.

Very typical Obama opponent tactic: take a little truth and sprinkle it with a little lie and put it out there for the gullible.

What a change, free loaders
at our expense

Misappropriation of Government funds was considered a criminal act when I was serving in the military. I believe folks have been prosecuted for this, probably have served prison time. If you check the definition in the legal books of government offices, it will probably mention that using government funds for personal use is forbidden. Where is the head of the legislative body at this time? Who is overseeing the overseers? I would like to know. What happened to the checks and balances system of this government. Do we still have three branches of Government or just one nation under totalitarianism?

Now, my understanding is that the President and First lady are a return to Camolot, At least that's what the networks tell us. Watching Brian Williams and Charles Gibson gush over every ordinary move made by the first family is nauseating. I admire the president although I don't agree with most of his policies but how exactly do these media clowns show any impartiality. There is a phrase, "Star****ers",that applies to these liberal overly partial people reporting the news. Michelle is the reincarnation of Jackie O, she has great fashion sense. This is the Presidency of TMZ and Entertainment tonight. Get used to it.

To Angelina:
When you get a job and start paying taxes you might begin to care about spending tax money (our money) for un-elected private citizens and flying in Kobe beef from Japan. What is wrong with American beef?

Just remember, folks, Nobody here gets out alive! We and they will all be gone in 2 generations. May the good Lord help us all. By the way, how many of Michelle Nobama's staff are white? Anyone counting?

For god's sake people... whenEVER you see something over the top, go check it out on snopes before you start blowing a gasket.

Snopes indicates large staffs for first ladies go back to *at least* jackie kennedy...
In fact, according to Anita McBride, Laura Bush's former Chief of Staff, Mrs. Bush had between 24 and 26 staffers working for her by the end of her husband's second term in office. It's therefore fair to say that the size of Michelle Obama's staff is not "unprecedented," but rather on a par with her immediate predecessor's.

Moreover, according to the Associated Press, several other First Ladies had larger numbers of personnel working for them than Michelle Obama does:
A look at some first ladies and their staff sizes:

Laura Bush: Between 24 and 26 by end of President George W. Bush's term in 2009, according to Anita McBride, Mrs. Bush's chief of staff.

Lady Bird Johnson, whose signature issue was beautifying roadways, had a staff of 30, said Stacy A. Cordery, a history professor at Montmouth College in Illinois who studies first ladies.

Betty Ford had almost the same number.

Jacqueline Kennedy, who made renovating the White House her cause, had about 40 people on staff, Cordery said.
Last updated: 6 October 2009

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This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the logo are registered service marks of

what a bunch of crap and whinies. Obviously republicans haters are on a freefall wit these posts.

Laura Bush had 18 staff members totaling 1.5 million in salary.

haters!. Wake up and don't be so freaking ignorant and see what you only want to see.

By floridasunshine on October 28, 2009 9:28 AM

what a bunch of crap and whinies. Obviously republicans haters are on a freefall wit these posts. Laura Bush had 18 staff members totaling 1.5 million in salary. haters!. Wake up and don't be so freaking ignorant and see what you only want to see.

out of all these posts, Mike L. made the only one worth reading.

and the lady that thinks we will all be gone in two genreations. look up the meaning of apocalypse. there will be a revelation, an unveiling. we will see. we arent going anywhere, unless we all kill eachother.

from the looks of these post, that may happen. nothing will ever change with everyone hating on everyone else. cant get anyone in the world to come together and agree on anything. how do you expect the government to change?

This is appalling, but not a surprise. The amount of money that the Obama administration spends on itself is ridiculous.

While President Obama appears to want to make more public appearances than any past President, doesn't anyone ever stop to wonder about how much this costs? Cities that are struggling because the government has reduced the amount of money coming back to them through taxes and revenue sharing, have to incur tremendous amounts of money in order for the President to come to their city.

They complain and rant and rave about executive compensation for others, but certainly don't have any qualms on spending it on themselves.

Supposedly, MO is BHO's "pulse of the people".
What a bad joke and disgrace this all is.

MO is a total snub, liar, and phony.

Let them enjoy the staff and perks. They will be gone in a few years. BHO is Jimmy Carter on steroids.

This is about more than just Michelle Obama's ridiculas entourage,..When will the Obama supporters understand that spending more money will not save this country,..spending more money when the economy is broke will not stimulate it, only creates a temporary solution that ends up being worse in the long run,..spending more money does NOT create jobs,..all they are doing is approving a set amount of $ through congress to give to special intrest groups for helping them get elected and calling it "creating jobs",..and nobody can do anything about it because if you say anything about the stupid dicisions made with your money then your a racist,..the "savior of the world" is in office,..and the puppet media will spin every single news report to support his administation even if it kills the taxpayers,..these blind lead supporters don't get it,..the stock market will never sustain a healthy rise until investors see that the irresponsible spending has stopped,..nobody is going to throw their money down the drain,..while these idiots continue to give the money to undeserving people who refuse to work for themselves,..or to "Illegal" Immigrants,..yes,"Illegal",..meaning people who are breaking the law, murder is against the law, stealing is against the law,..but are not being punished for it,..all the while sending cash out of the country lowering its value,..not paying taxes,..and recieving free health care,..and free education,..

Wake up people,..Im not promoting republicans,..Im not even promoting conservatism,..

Im just promoting not being a freaking Idiot,.!

It's not just the Obama's , it's virtually all of Washington. They have given themselves the "Mac Daddy" of all Golden Parachutes. Only three things from my government "representatives" would I like to see.
1) That they have term limits. No more Career politicians.
2) That they use the same retirement and health care benefits they give us.
3) That after serving the country, they (and their beneficiaries) no longer receive disproportionate pay or benefits.

What could be more tacky than serving the poor in a food line wearing $500 tennis shoes. If that had been Laura, they'd have made dart boards with her image. A lime green cardigan with a black silk dress? Maybe she should ad a fashion expert to her entourage. A 2.2 million staff when hard working Americans are losing their homes and kids are going to sleep hungry. I live in Chicago and am facing the winter without a furnace and as of today, without a car. I would be happy to have a pair of $30 tennis shoes. The Obamas and their spending spree are about as in touch with the people as Marie and Louie. Tradition has it that the President bows to no one, unless of course it’s an Arab Prince or the Emperor of Japan. Pure Class. Speaking of class, "Classmates" of his at Columbia say he wasn't there nor is his picture in the year book. Face it folks. We've been had. Now, what do we do about it? So sorry to disappoint so many of you, but race has absolutely nothing to do with this sham.



While we the people have to bow and lick the hands of TSA and "Homeland Security" so we aren't declaed "terrorists" and thrown in jail - the Obama's with their millions of dollars in staff and clothing which costs more than the average John Q PublicLs monthly unemployment check, per Obama, can throw lavish parities where two people, who are uninvited get past the most security laden entrance in thw world and have an audience with their eminenses King and Queen Obama simply stuns me. Does something not smack of insanely wrong here?

Our liberties have been striped from us - and the elite in D.C. are immune from it.

This is not the America those men freezing to death at Valley Forge were fighting FOR - it was what they were fighting AGAINST.

We can sit in our homes, which are about to be foreclosed upon by the Banksters, collecting our paultry unemployment checks, if we still qualify, using our new and improved Food Stamp credit cards - while Queen Michelle is waited upon by 22 staffers - or we can rise up and stop whining and DO something about it!

To our grammarian - I'm writing this on my phone - humble apologies for any errors, the text is microscopic and I couldn't see an error if I tried. :)

I got an email today from a friend regarding the number of staff required of Michelle Obama and the costs to the taxpayers for these individuals. Is this the norm??? Have other first ladies needed this kind of staff to help perform their official duties? $2.2 million in wages/fringe just to fix her hair, do makeup,help with correspondnece, plan her trips, and others to assist the assistants -- who did all those important functions before she became the first lady???? I hope more Americans, especially those who have lost their jobs, find out about this entourage of aides, assistants, and planners ... the excesses and the blatant government waste is shameful.

I think this only proves that our First Lady is dedicated about the well being of our country. With all the works that she has been engaging our young generation...this is such a good spending on her staff...keep expanding your horizen Michelle and keep up the good work...ignore those noise is the best thing to handle those mobs.

Be confident of what you are doing. You are inspirational and such a role model for mothers in our nation in terms of how to nurture our children and society.

Thank you for all the good works.

Sincerely yours,
Susan Herbst

Michelle is not a role model for Americans...When she worked for a Chicago Hospital she was a "Patient Dumper" She sent the poor away while embracing the rich who had high end health insurance. For that she got an award for bringing in the money.
She a, Disgraceful Chicago gangster!

Do a google if you don't believe me

When the Obamas 'moved on up to the Eastside' they took it literally. Move over George and Weezy, Barry and Shelly have moved in.

Haven't you all noticed? He tells alot of jokes,I think his preparing for Conan's spot when his not relected! His appeared on TV more in a year that most presidents durning their first term. Further more he was not seasoned enough or qualified to take on the pressures that come with the job. He procrastinates too long in making a decision. There is one question, I would like a definite answer to. Has anyone READ THIS HEALTH CARE NOVEL from page 1 to the end? Does anyone even know what or who the Bill covers? Is it immigrants, illegal aliens, low income citizens that are already on Welfare? This has never been explained with a honest outright admission when asked.

Another question, if there was no cost of living this year,why are we paying more at the grocery store for food, more for heating oil & gas as well as clothing all of which SS Disability can't
cover with other bills.

All ofthe ordinary,less fortunate.average people unable to comprehend the ways the goverment works.(names used to describe the Citizens by Obama & other elected officials)They ask us to cut back,buy cars that cost less to drive but Obama got a new cadilac, agency's ride in Hummers, Surburbans,or other large SUV gas guzzlers. Fill up with a Credit Card that the tax payer pays for.

The Big Corporate business that contributes thousands upon thousands of dollars (now given card blanche,with the new supreme court ruling) doesn't do this for nothing; it's you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours!; if you want my support for relection. If I remember correctly, Obama said in a campaign speech; it's time to put a stop to Wall Street Fat Cats being catered to as in the current administration and the little man,the average american citizen that deserves to benefit. This is the CHANGE I'm referring to and if elected I will fight for your rights that you are so deserving of. I WILL WORK FOR YOU IF ELECTED. Now you tell me,what was the first this he did? BAIL OUT THE BIG BANKS AND LOCATION WAS WALL STREET! This was CHANGE ha ha the jokes on us. Money talks and BS walks.

As a federal employee, I had to get used to working harder with fewer resources every year on a salary that may have seemed enviable to many, but barely supported the high cost of living in Washington. I noticed that some of Mrs. Obama's staff's salaries are not much considering housing costs, commuting time/fares, etc.

It's interesting to talk to foreigners about the Obamas. They admire them greatly; unfortunately, half of this country believe the rubbish put out there by those who want our president to fail. The majority of voters elected a highly-intelligent man, who, with his wife, are working hard to restore our image around the world. They have done nothing to deserve the scorn of so many who believe the garbage being disseminated in the media. Many fact-checking sites have debunked the rumors, yet they stubbornly continue to believe what they want to believe -- even when facts are presented to them.

There is waste and corruption in government AND in private industry. Government agencies are frequently examined for that, and President Obama himself stated he would like a more efficiently-run government. However, the role of first lady requires her to travel, entertain, educate, make speeches, reply to mail, and accompany her husband and children to events she may not always want to attend, but does without a salary for the duration of her husband's time in office. Mrs. Obama's approval rating is very high. Those who are trying to bring her down should do something to make this country a better place instead of making us all look like ugly Americans.

This is politics for you, and judging from some of the commenters above who shamelessly repeat the lie about Laura Bush only having only one staffer, it's clear that many of you consider your best source of facts to be anonymously-written emails forwarded to you from people who hate this administration as much as you do.

For the few of you who may actually care about the truth, there is some actual sourced research at on the topic:

"The combined annual salaries for the 22 staffers we can specifically identify as working for Michelle Obama come to $1.6 million. For the 18 we could identify as working for Laura Bush in 2008, the total is $1.4 million."

The fact that any First Lady has more than a staff of 2 or 3 is a travesty. I realize that the First Lady is busy but outside of a personal assistant, someone to help schedule events and perhaps someone to help screen correspondence, all of the other people appear to be payback to the party faithful. I am reminded of the movie “Animal Farm” where those who wanted change turned out to be no better than those previously in charge. This is not an example of “fundamental change” but really just more of the same. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

We just didn't realize when Obama said he would concentrate on jobs, he meant his friends who were not qualified to get a real job. It takes a lot of work to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 16, 2009 2:07 PM.

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