Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Michelle Obama Spain trip: what's true, what's not. No party with Antonio Banderas, Eva Longoria


WASHINGTON--First Lady Michelle Obama is facing criticism for her lavish trip to Spain's Mediterranean coast.

Read my report about the lavish Spain trip and the number of vacations Mrs. Obama has taken here and here and here.

Let's get some facts straight:

* I've seen reports that Mrs. Obama brought 40 friends on the trip. The East Wing has told me earlier in the week that is not true. On Saturday, the East Wing confirmed that Mrs. Obama is traveling with two female friends and four of their daughters.

*On Saturday, Mrs. Obama and Sasha were in the southern Spanish city of Ronda.

The Daily Mail, quoting a paper in the resort city where Mrs. Obama is staying said, "The Obama party is due to attend a charity event hosted by actors Antonio Banderas and Eva Longoria on Saturday night, Marbella newspaper La Tribuna said.

The East Wing told me Saturday, "They are not hosting or attending a charity event. There is an unrelated event taking place at their hotel with some big movie stars expected, but the first lady is not going, nor is she on any host committee."

*Mrs. Obama's total entourage is larger, with staff and security. The East Wing will not say how many staffers are with Mrs. Obama. I've seen deputy chief of staff Melissa Winter and another staffer in photos.

*Mrs. Obama always travels--domestic and international--with an around the clock security force--uniform and in plain clothes. Taxpayers pay their salary and travel expenses.


Everything the Obama's do, someone is going
to criticize.

I say lay off the wife and children.

Great to see the First Lady address this important issue.

By Michelle Obama
Monday, August 2, 2010

"Last spring, a class of fifth-grade students from Bancroft Elementary School in the District descended on the South Lawn of the White House to help us dig, mulch, water and plant our very first kitchen garden. In the months that followed, those same students came back to check on the garden's progress and taste the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor. Together, they helped us spark a national conversation about the role that food plays in helping us all live healthy lives.
For years our nation has been struggling with an epidemic of childhood obesity....

(Full story)


Let them eat better.

I wish people would just leave her and her family alone. doesn't anyone remember that Michelle had a well paying job on her own before Barack even ran for the Illinois Congress! Is she not able to go a trip with friends and their daughters!
Michelle, enjoy this moment and keep on being an emissary to countries around the world!

So let me get this straight. The President & Mrs. Obama tell Americans to vacation on the Gulf Coast to help fellow citizens & businesses hurt by the oil spill. Yet they prefer the Coast of Spain and spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars? Hypocrite, heal thyself. Enjoy the perks since you will be back in Chicago in 2012.

Save yourself the “Scoop from Washington”!
The readers are not that stupid but know what comes from Washington. We need facts not spin from this administration. So, 40 is not the correct number of friends because it might be 45? Looking thru the press releases and pictures of the Spanish media the entourage looks like a pack of dogs interspersed with security idiots in stupid sunglasses roaming the streets! And that at the expense of the US tax payers who can’t find jobs.

Other presidents did not say we all need to tighten our belts and they also didn't face the economic crisis and recession that we are in right now. We could have kept quite a number of teachers on the payroll this upcoming school year with the money Mrs. Obama is billing us taxpayers! I sense a bit of "do as i say, not as I do" from the Obama's time and time again. I voted for the guy and he has let me down, time and time again! Why couldn't the first lady vacationed in the Gulf area, or somewhere in America, god knows we could all use some of their money? Let her vacation where she wants to, but expect us Americans to be keeping score. Mr. Obama needs to practice what he preaches, "time to tighten up the belt" give me a break!

I have heard a lot of criticism about the expenses of this trip. The trip itself for Michelle and the children is paid by her husband Obama.

The USA government pays the staff and that includes the security people. Should a President of the USA pay from his pocket the staffers and security? If this is true, then very few family members of the president could afford to travel even if they paid their own expenses. This would limit the freedom of movement of family members to travel, unless the president is very rich and can afford to pay a staff of up to 40 people.


This has been going on for a very long time...presidents and their families have secret service agents to protect them, and the taxpayers pay their salaries. This is nothing new! Should she be expected to travel alone, unprotected??? This is all absurd. She's the first lady and of course she needs to have her hair done! Do we think Laura Bush did her own hair?? Or Nancy Reagan???

While there's nothing technically wrong with her taking that kind of vacation, it's also just plain politically stupid for her to be taking this extravagant trip during the recession. The photo of her with the shirt with one bare arm by Gauthier doesn't sit well.

Laura Bush used to hike every summer with her women friends out West. We never even saw photos of them. Those trips can't have been nearly as expensive as this.

Seems very, very tone deaf of the Obamas to me.

Line up your facts all you want... the bottom line.. or what you're trying to say is this... Team Obama should not be treated the same way BushCo was... right?

If this was Laura Bush you were talking about.. well.. I'm sure your script would be flipped.

What is the problem if she was or wasn't. She is not the president, her husband is? Leave them alone.

If Mrs. Obama doesn't drop-in to this party with Antonio and Eva, I'll eat my hat. Also, the issue here is not whether the tax payers are footing the bill or not -- they clearly are. The issue is that the First Lady must be incredibly out of touch to be taking a vacation like this while the country is in such an economic funk. Whether she can personally afford to go is a moot point; the question is whether she -- as a leading representative of this country -- should be taking a lavish trip like this now. It's just another example of how out of touch they are increasingly becoming with the majority of the electorate.

Best American Ambassador ever came to Spain.

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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 August 7, 2010 10:54 AM.

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