Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Michelle Obama at luxury Spanish resort: Gibbs asked about "the appearance" of trip

| 45 Comments


WASHINGTON -- First lady Michelle Obama may catch some flak for vacationing at an expensive luxury hotel on Spain's Mediterranean coast. By the end of the summer, Mrs. Obama will have taken eight vacation trips -- including her visit to Marbella, staying at the five-star Hotel Villa Padierna with daughter Sasha and some pals.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked at a Wednesday briefing if there was any concern about "the appearance" of Mrs. Obama's overseas jaunt.

"The first lady is on a private trip. She is a private citizen and is the mother of a daughter on a private trip. And I think I'd leave it at that," Gibbs said.

The "private" vacation has a side trip touted as "official." Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia invited Mrs. Obama and Sasha for an "official" visit, likely to be at their summer palace on the island of Majorca. Mrs. Obama was pictured walking through Marbella on Wednesday with deputy chief of staff Melissa Winter.

Mrs. Obama's U.S. Air Force jet landed at Malaga on Wednesday; she skipped celebrating her husband's 49th birthday with him. (Daughter Malia, 12, is at overnight camp.) Mrs. Obama pays for personal expenses -- as do her friends who arrived on their own -- but that only covers a small part of the expense. Taxpayers pick up the tab for staff and security at the exclusive hotel and most of the expenses for the plane.

First ladies often go on vacations, with and without the president. An issue for Mrs. Obama may be how many: New York in March; Chicago, over Memorial Day; Los Angeles in June; Camp David -- sort of an extension of the White House -- in July; Maine in July, to highlight Acadia National Park, and now Spain. Mrs. Obama is glamorizing Spain's coastal resorts before her Aug. 14 first family weekend visit to Florida's Gulf Coast, to encourage tourists scared away by the oil spill. Starting Aug. 19, the Obamas will spend 10 days in Martha's Vineyard.

The State Department, prompted, I'm told, by Spanish reporters making inquiries in advance of Mrs. Obama's trip, lifted a travel advisory for Spain that warned "racial prejudice could contribute to the arrest to African Americans who travel to Spain." The warning was posted because of an incident Feb. 13, 2009, in Barcelona. State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley said Wednesday the warnings are routinely reviewed, and it "was the press attention around [Mrs. Obama's] trip that caused us to look at it once again. . . . And as we viewed it, we thought it was no longer current information."



MICHELLE OBAMA ON HER FOOD "CLEANSE" AND DISLIKE OF BEETS

Mrs. Obama occasionally goes on what she calls a "cleanse" to purge her body of certain foods, she told Ladies' Home Journal.

Don't confuse a "cleanse" -- to get certain foods out of your system -- with other techniques to detox, such as colonic irrigation.

Mrs. Obama, in an interview to promote her "Let's Move" anti-obesity campaign, talked about the "cleanse" and the dislike, which she shares with the president, of beets.

"Neither the president nor I have the beet gene," Mrs. Obama said. But talking about healthy foods when she was interviewed in June in the White House led her to disclose her internal purification routine. "Recently I was on a sort of cleanse, and I was just eating vegetables," she said.

Asked how it worked out, Mrs. Obama said, "The cleanses are good for a short period of time. I can't live my life on a cleanse. But they help me clean out my palate. Because when you start adding things like sugars into your diet, you start craving them.

"And the more you eat, the more you crave. ... So maybe I'll do a cleanse for two days. It isn't a way of life because I like food too much. But it is good to break your mind-set," she said.

45 Comments

It's a shame to see tax payer money go to a foreign country on a lavish vacation while unemployment is at record highs and the gulf coast is desperate for tourism. Just another example of the President and First Lady's contempt for the United States and its citizens.

WHY not have your hubby bring you a few bags of White Castles---works for me! Doesnt she know the whole world is coughing from your jet? Next time drive!

We really could care about you bowels. Why dont you focus on hungry families your husband put out of work?

Maybe once they're gone in 2012 all we will need is a few days cleanse to get them out of our system (though I think it will take longer).

Is Michelle Obama using her own PRIVATE money to fund her extravagant vacation or PUBLIC MONEY to fund her trip???

Moving on up to the eastside, we finally got a piece of the pie

And the Obama party train just keeps on rolling. Been about 6 or 7 events, parties, concerts, vacations and what have you for him and his kin these past few weeks(not counting the period when he went after a state passing a mirror of the federal immigration law because the federal government refuses to enforce it themselves). How much time dealing with the crisis of the gulf that is now so flooded with chemicals and oil that we might as well declare it a national hazard?

Mrs. Obama has the right to vacation as much and as many times that she desires. She was not elected into any office and is not on the public's timetable. Her staff and secret service detail would be paid for by us whether she is in the U.S. or in Spain. Her security is a small price to pay to make sure that our President is free to make critical decisions without having to worry about his family.

And if you are concerned about the gas, dig up some of the barrels of gas in the ocean to use for the trip.

Why Isn't she in Florida where she said the water was fine?

He Won,,,,Get Over it !!!

Seriously Juanita, the price tag is a tad bit higher in Spain than if they were providing protection at the White House....I guess she is enjoying it now because she knows in 2012 she will be out of there. Well lets hope so. The man is in over his head. We only have ourselves to blame, we vote for people we like vs. leaders.

Shows how much patriotism Michelle Obama has, she takes her taxpayer salary and protection and uses it overseas. What, America not good enough for you Marie Antoinette? Oops, I mean Michelle Obama.


When you're prejudice down in your souls, it can't help but spew out!!!!!!

WE LOVE YOU MICHELLE!

Americans unemployed and homeless. School teachers laid-off. Business going to other countries. I think it is the wrong time to be going outside the states right now. There are places she can take her girls to in the U.S. Later when times are better than take the girls overseas.

Try not to focus so much on what needs to be changed in the world, as on what needs to be changed in yourself and your attitude. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change. Its not about The Obama's,_ _ _ really.Whether they go on vacation or not isn't going to solve your problems, so stop blaming other people for your lack there of. There will always be, the have and have not. Get up off your duff and stop complaining. Get a life.

mrs. Obama has the right to go where she can afford to go. Talking about spending money, the Clintons spent much, much more on their daughters wedding and the cost of the Secret Servicemen to protect them was much higher.
People who have money are not responsible for the ones who do not have money. Get a life and quit hateing!!!!

I am paying high taxes at 68 yrs old with no retirement to send the first lady on vacation, overseas with her youngest, jet fuel, maintenance on Air Force 2, and landing fees, with no regard for what it costs my disabled wife and myself to scratch for survival. It tells me I should no longer pay taxes until we can enjoy a inexpensive 3 day vacation close to where we reside.

Mrs. O has insinuated herself into public policy.
She has asked for many millions of dollars for her obesity program, and has inserted herself in the federal school lunch program. She was not elected to do any of this.
Therefore, imo, Gibbs has it wrong, she is no longer a private citizen. Besides, by calling on the King and Queen of Spain for a short visit, most of the expense of this trip can be billed to the taxpayers
Many first ladies have taken trips, but have never heard of one needing 50 plus rooms.And we pay for the Secret Service and staff rooms
Ms Sweet forgot the Spring weekend in Ashville, but one does lose count at this point...

Don't hate, Americans will be just fine. Michelle Obama is the best, enjoy.

I believe you call are being a little hard on the Obamas. You all have them under micromanagement. That is just sad. The world as other things to worry about than their vacations. Oops, did you look at other Presidents like that? No. So give President Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama a break and let them clean up the mess they inherited as best they can and just look over the color of their skin. God bless the Obamas and God, please, please, bless America to have a change of heart towards skin color. Let's just call live in peace and harmony. I know that is so hard for some people to do. Well, God bless you all very much because you all need it.

LET'S GIVE OUR ELECTED PRESIDENT AND SPOUSE RESPECT! IF YOU LOVE AND SUPPORT YOUR COUNTRY YOU WILL ALWAYS LOVE AND SUPPORT THE ONE YOU & I ELECTED...

THIS IS THE PRESIDENT!! GET IT??? THE PRESIDENT!!

WE HAVE NEVER SPOKE BADLY OF OTHER PRESIDENTS WHILE THEY WERE IN OFFICE! MAYBE YOU WERE AFRAID TO...

LET'S ALL GET TOGETHER...AND LOVE OUR COUNTRY!

To all of you who have made it your mission to make disparaging comments and opinions about President Obama and his family should be ashamed. The first family held professional positions in addition to having an income prior to him becoming our President. You all need to grow up! They can vacation anywhere they want, just like the Clinton's can spend as much money on their daughter's wedding as they want!! Where were your negative remarks when Laura Bush took her daughters on an African Safari during former President Bush's stay in the White House?? The economy was just as bad then. You should stop the hatred and pettiness and support as well as respect our President just as we supported the Bush families when they were in office.

Eat your heart out. The Obamas are doing what every other occupant in the white house have done. It is amazing that it is only now some of you people have become fiscal conservatives. Where where were you eight years ago?

what is the big deal if mrs obama takes a vacation. get over it people, leave them alone. i think they are human like every president who got in power.Obama did not put himself as the president of the usa. god appointed him as the leader.Whoever who has a problem with that go talk to the Man above who has the power over all things, the man above who created black, yellow, red, white.

lets unite ourselves together and The Lord will be happy and the whole world will be blessed.lets forget about ignorance

And what about Barack celebrating his birthday in Chicago with Oprah Winfrey while Michelle's in Spain. What's happpening there?

The rich and famous can take luxury trips without grief....the not so rich and famous can take vacations this year without grief....sports tickets are still being sold...designer clothes are still being bought...luxury cars are still being driven...actors and mucians are still makin' millions... BUT the First Lady is supposed to stay at home and have a picnic in the back yard using paper plates...IGNORANT!

All “YOU” hater’s....give it up. Just because your lives suck and you can go any where, “don’t hate”. I don’t see anybody mention what Bush & family was doing when the world was dealing with all the crisis. There is so much more going on in the WORLD “PEOPLE” need to focus their energy and words on more IMPORTANT issues.

Christ, give us a break. A 4-day "vacation."

Don't you people have anything better to do?

Ms. Sweet, it is amazing the trash comments you allow to aggregate on a topic such as a trip for the first family or more precisely the President's wife and daughter, but when it is hard hitting comments about other topics which may be more relevant your censorship sign goes up.

Thanks for allowing the fake Afrikan-Mexican to utilize a derogatory idiom.

I don't think anyone read Lynn's article...only the headlines.
1 - the First lady was "invited" to Spain
2 - she's paying with her own private funds
3 - the Secret Service is round the clock 24/7 365 days regardless of where she goes.
4 - If's a vacation with her daughters, who are off for the summer school break. I'm sure if the daughters were in school, she wouldn't be on vacation.

Next time maybe she should leave the papparazzi behind, slip quietly away and nobody know nothing.

To Miguel: How do YOU know the Clinton Wedding cost $3Million?
Do you know if Bill & Hillary paid for it...or did Chelsea pay for it?

Finally the wedding DID not cost $3Mill but under $1mill. the Media as always overhypes stuff.

Hey people...get a *&(^%&$^$ life...big deal ppeople spend their money on frivolous crap every day...the media and others don't know the whole truth so they make shit up to piss everyone off ....and get them all riled up ...been...working for years ...live your own life not through everyone else's

Mrs. Bush took her twins on an African safari while her husband was POTUS. I don't remember hearing a peep about cost or complaints about her having a staff while she served as First Lady. You haters are really starting to look pretty stupid and transparent. If you honestly care so much about the poor unemployed I suggest that you contact your Republican elected reps and urge them to vote with the Dems on issues that would clearly help the unemployed and the economy. Unless, of course, you don't really give a fat rat's patoot about the country and simply want to trash the duly elected Democratic POTUS.

averybody is talking about what past presidents did and how much they spent but come on the obama's promised change-we got schools,reck center's, doctors offices and hospitals closing down becouse of lack off funding -my kids dnt even have a after school program to go to now and they got tax payer dollars to spend on a mommy daughter trip-if were so concerned with the clear headedness of our president maybe the next one shouldnt have a family to worry about becouse this was clearly selfish. its stuff llike this that makes me regret voting

Ok. This is not the early 1960's when everyone was optimistic, this is not "Camelot", these folks are not the Kennedys or Bouviers who, however they made their money, were independantly wealthy...it's pathetic that in a country with the fundamental right to freedom of speech that no one dares to criticize Obamas without being called a racist. I don't care if they are black, white or purple, this whole thing is wrong...spending her own money on incidentals, fine, secret survice protection, fine...$150,000+ for the use of the jet, not so fine. Her little jaunts would pay for a lot of people to live for a year...pathetic. They are talented theives. She's milking it while she can.

We didn't all elect Mr. Obama to the White House and a lot of those who did now wish they hadn't. We do love our country and we are going backwards and not forward.

You know, never once did I hear such harsh criticism of an American president and his family as I've heard in the past year and a half. I didn't hear it with Carter, Reagan, Sr. Bush, Clinton nor Jr. Bush. I recall many of our former first ladies taking trips with their families and never once did I hear such venomous hatred spewed toward them. I really think our founding fathers would be ashamed of individuals who disrespect the office of the presidency so much. And I think that they'd be appalled to hear the type speech directed at the entire First Family. If President Obama's critics doesn't like him due to his policies, that's fine. But to hate both he and his family because who they are, well that's shameful. To those close minded individuals, you've opened up a can of worms for all future presidents and their families. They nor their families will be 'off limits' when it comes to being hated for no logical reason. The shoe will be on the other foot. Let's then see how you react.

PLEASE STOP THROWING DOWN THE "RACE" CARD. THIS IS NOT ABOUT RACE, THIS IS ABOUT IMPRACTICAL SPENDING AND A BLATANT DISREGARD FOR STRUGGLING AMERICAN FAMILIES. WHILE THIS NATION IS SWIMMING IN DEBT, A FIRST LADY SHOULD BEHAVE IN A MANNER THAT SPEAKS VOLUMES ABOUT HER UNDERSTANDING OF HURTING AMERICANS. TAXPAYER DOLLARS SHOULD BE USED WISELY AND WITH SOME SORT OF FISCAL INTEGRITY...NOT TO PAY FOR 50 ROOMS AT A LUXURY HOTEL IN SPAIN.

PLEASE STOP THIS INSENSITIVE AND IN-YOUR-FACE SPENDING. IT'S NOT ONLY UNETHICAL, ITS DOWN RIGHT EMBARRASSING. THE WORLD IS WATCHING!!!!

enjoy life. One life to live haters

I am soooo sick of Obama and the Obama lovers still blaming everything
on the past and past president. Wake up and take an economic class or
study what is going on with our economy. The rich will always be rich and
the poor will always be allowed to suck off the government and the
hard working middle class will pay for all. They are working to pay for
all the government programs, taxes, and supporting their family and
home as they qualify for no government aid. They cannot afford lavish
trips. Our economy and all other problems are NOT getting better and
that is why soooo many are upset with her MANY ... not one African trip ...
God bless the world we now live in...it needs help and it is NOT working!

It is sad that the scrutiny of this president, and his wife is so vicious. Nixon went to China. Reagan went overseas also . As did every President in office. The condition that this country is in is because of the last 8 years of the last president. The secret service protects the First lady. If she went to Hartford, CT she would still have the same protection. What about the companies that left the United States, that our people living here still supports. Why did she really write that article? Is it the color of this first lady...

Our economic status today is a rough one. I understand that if it is good, we thank the president BUT if it is bad we blame him. Personally, I think we need to put the blame where it needs to be. Within two years of office we begin to see the effects of the current President. I think our economy is suffering today. I am a Bush fan and I am a proud Republican. I will stand proud of that factor til I take my last breath. However, if Obama wants things to get better, HE needs to focus in on our troops (who are fighting for us) and WE need to focus on what will help our families at home. I work everyday but the money is never enough. I work longer hours to get more money but in return see the stress on my families face. We have not taken a vacation in several years. But today and this weekend I focus in on my family. My kids need me and Obama has his own agenda to make things better for himself......I just don't think it includes the Citizens of the United States of America. I think it is a shame when all we can think of is playing the race card when all facts point to that Obama does not put the hard working middle class in the picture at all. However, God bless him!

It's shameful what prejudice has surfaced since Obama's election. To all those who claim our president has done nothing, I want you to:a) give back those extended unemployment benefits,
b)turn down the medical coverage for your 21-26 year-old who is now covered by your healthcare plan c)Send those precious troops who are now coming home, back to Iraq to continue looking for WMDs.Stop expecting a miracle from a man who has only been in office for 19 months, especially since the Republicans have sought to block every change he has tried to bring about.
You just hate to see a beautiful, classy, well-educated Black family show you daily that there really is NO SUPERIOR Race. We did not elect Mrs.Obama. She is a private citizen and can travel with her daughters anywhere she likes.

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets

Video

Lynn Sweet

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

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 5, 2010 9:10 AM.

Rod Blagojevich Trial Day 35: Jury deliberations continue was the previous entry in this blog.

Obama Chicago Ford plant visit background briefing: Who's Who is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.