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August 6, 2010

Blogger rains on Michelle Obama's trip to Spain

Posted: 04:10 PM ET

Via LATimes.com

First Lady Michelle Obama is taking heat for her private trip to Spain this week, most notably from a New York blogger slamming her as the “Material Girl” and comparing her to Marie Antoinette, former queen of France.

Andrea Tantaros, writing on NYDailyNews.com, took issue with the first lady’s pricey five-star hotel and her “estimated 70 Secret Service agents.”

Tantaros, a former congressional staffer for Republican lawmakers, chided Obama for living large while “most of the country is pinching pennies and downsizing summer sojourns — or forgoing them altogether.”

Obama is in Spain with daughter Sasha, 9, and longtime family friends. The White House had no comment on the blog post and would not specify how many pals — or security personnel — were along for the trip.

But one White House official said Obama had a “small” group of friends and “minimal” staff on the trip, and said personal expenses, such as hotel rooms and meals, were being paid for by the Obamas.

“Any additional footprint, including rooms needed for security support and transportation, falls under the same rules as have applied to any previous first family travel,” the official said. That is, private expenses are paid for privately and government expenses are picked up by Uncle Sam.

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Filed under: Michelle Obama


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Linda   August 6th, 2010 4:18 pm ET

She is paying her way out there and so what!! The 1st lady should be left alone she has a right to take her kids on vacation just like the rest of us., when Barbara Bush took daughter's on a safari to Africa a was a state visit nobody complained!!! How fair and self centered are we??


barbara and ray cochran   August 6th, 2010 4:44 pm ET

Being the First Lady is Vacation enough – She should be spending the money in the USA – She has enough folks in her large entourage who are all on vacation as well – maybe they are trying to get in as many 'perks' as they can because they are aware that the US Citizens are totally unhappy with our Current President who has steadfastly refused to provide information about his birth records, etc. This is NOT a Racist comment – I could care less that they are Black Americans (you notice that I did NOT say "African-Americans") – We should have Catholic, Jewish, Black, Mormon, Puerto Rican, German Presidents – as long as they are AMERICAN CITiZENS!!! Enough said, my comment will not be recognized – Why? Because I am in the Majority of America – God help our Country – there are so many folks out there who want to take us down....


Penn   August 6th, 2010 4:46 pm ET

If Michelle Obama taking a holiday makes her Marie Antoinette, who are the mobs? The Obama Family should not dignify such a non-21st century comment.


TONNY   August 6th, 2010 5:15 pm ET

SHE CAN DO WHAT SHE PLEASES..OK W/ME ..SHE'S A DREAM !


Smith in Oregon   August 6th, 2010 5:27 pm ET

Michelle Obama is a wonderful breath of fresh air as America's First Lady. Former first lady, Laura Bush was so superficial as she twisted and turned with any obvious questioning regarding her husband Bush jr. who many state and fell is guilty of multiple War Crimes.

What do you say to a Laura Bush? Your father-in-law appears to be connected to the murder of Pope John Paul 1? Your husband appears to have given China the multi-Trillion dollar Iraqi Oil field leases for pennies after America gave thousands of lives, blood, sweat, tears and nearly 1 Trillion taxpayer dollars?

What do you say to Republican Potty leaders whining about their good old days when Blacks were picking cotton and Women couldn't even vote? After portraying Michelle Obama as a black Muslim activist toting a AK-47, the GOP seems frustrated that America is rejecting the Republican Potty of no ideas, no help and no jobs. The Republican Potty appears entirely upset that a Black American is the President of the United States.


Lucy   August 6th, 2010 7:36 pm ET

Folks should lay off first ladies. It's not the first ladies' fault they have to travel with an entourage. They don't get lots of choices in the 4-8 years their husbands are presidents. They deserve a few breaks/vacations - especially if they have kids.


Charles Conn   August 6th, 2010 7:45 pm ET

News flash to Andrea Tantaros Obama is personally rich. But even if the government picking up the first lady’s hotel expense, would you expect her to travel without security service security or perhaps you believe she should never set foot outside the White House for four. Get real! If anything were to happen to her everyone including you would be yelling to high heaven that government security was letting down the country and it was all the Obama administration’s fault. Get over it ex staffer, your party lost in 2008 and if you are not careful you are going to lose in 2012!! Justsain


Jessie from Auckland, NZ   August 6th, 2010 7:45 pm ET

Maybe they all need to tone things down........who knows????


John   August 6th, 2010 8:52 pm ET

Only a few weeks ago the First Lady was in the news advising everyone to help troubled economies in the beautiful states affected by the BP spill . It seems like not practicing what we preach.


Chris   August 6th, 2010 9:08 pm ET

@Smith in Oregon,
We would be lucky if all first ladies were as gracious as Laura Bush. You simply don't like Republicans. I tend to look at each person as an individual and she is a class act.


linda carlton   August 6th, 2010 9:16 pm ET

I hope the obamas enjoy themselves till 2012 . spend like there is no tommrow after all we americans have more money than we know what to do with .I would love for them to travel the world after all it took alot of hard work to fix all the things that george bush screwed up .Just maybe they will move it on up to Hollywood after 2012 he is one fine actor.


Lena   August 6th, 2010 9:17 pm ET

Enjoy yourself, Mrs. Obama and Sasha! Sasha must be so happy to
have this mother = daughter time with you!


KENNY   August 6th, 2010 9:23 pm ET

KUDOS TO SMITH IN OREGON !!....LAURA BUSH ALWAYS LOOKS PERFECT..BUT THESE PEOPLE HAVE MANY SKELETONS IN THEIR CLOSETS..


nancy   August 6th, 2010 9:38 pm ET

The Bush family is hiding many secrets..read the bk, "the Bush Dynasty" ...


Chere   August 6th, 2010 11:15 pm ET

@Kenny,
I assume you mean "these people" who are the topic of the article.


kermit   August 7th, 2010 12:37 am ET

We cannot compare the current First Lady with past first ladies because our country has never been in such financial difficulties. With that being said, the First Lady should support her husband in his efforts to rehabilitate this country. One good way to do that is to spend tax payers dollars in America where they need to be spent and not in another country, and maybe we could start paying some of our loans we owe to China back .


Weel   August 7th, 2010 12:46 am ET

The First Lady is setting a bad example. Americans are enduring a tough recession and we shouldn't have to pay for her new-found, luxurious lifestyle.


Jess   August 7th, 2010 3:53 am ET

A small group of close friends? CNN reported a group of 40 to 50 close friends were along with her. come on, who in the world would have that many close friends? Not one person I ever heard of.


RICHARD   August 7th, 2010 7:41 am ET

After Bush 41 & Dan Quayle LOST the election for the 2nd term, Mr. Quayle took Air Force 1 & 2 all over the U.S. to enjoy the ALL the BEST Golf courses that he could fit in before they left office,,,i wrote him a letter in disgust..well, at least it relieved my mind a little...glad he's gone...


ifiwererich   August 7th, 2010 9:43 am ET

Who Cares?????? Spend..spend...spend.....tax...tax...tax...Mrs. Obama undoubtedly told everyone in Spain how proud she was to be an American, now that she is travelling abroad on the taxpayers dollar. And yes, it has always been done in the past, will always be done in the future, we will continue to pick up the tab. But I would say the timing stinks, with all the fabulous places in the USA to travel to, would it not have been a bit more prudent to stay stateside. Or maybe it's an indication that things are going to get worse....so she got the trip in while she could?????


Chris   August 7th, 2010 11:24 am ET

Her trip with 70 secret service agents and the plane for getting her to Spain cost the taxpayers no less than $250,000. Did her friends fly free on the airplane or fly separately? If they flew with her, they should pay for that flight. She could have spent much less and used far fewer secret service agents had she vacationed in the US and helped the economy in the process.


Shirl   August 7th, 2010 11:52 am ET

Yep, she asked everyone to come on down to the Gulf and spend some money. So.....why didn't she go as well. Too funny.....


nina1fox   August 7th, 2010 2:44 pm ET

Amazing that a blogger was given so much power? I wonder how and why that happened?

The Americans are in financial dire straights due to previous presidential administrations and the cost of incurring 2 wars now almost 10 years in duration. It would be interesting to see personal costs occurred for all prior presidential administrations. How about Bush spending more time on vacation than any other president ever. I stand up and applaud President and Michelle Obama. Thank you for trying to make a difference. The situation is monumental, even more than you both realized!!!

@ Smith in Oregon

"Michelle Obama is a wonderful breath of fresh air as America's First Lady."

I completely agree with your statement!


Tyler   August 7th, 2010 3:40 pm ET

@ the cochrans
You're right, they should be spending the money here in the USA. There are plenty of vacation spots. However, the first family needs to focus on helping their country now. When the President's term ends, they will have PLENTY of time and money to go on their vacations.


Betty   August 7th, 2010 4:33 pm ET

I think the First Lady is a wonderful mother.. She does have the right to take a vacation with her daughter.. I do think she maybe should have thought about taking her daughter some where a little less expensive. The American people look at her as a role model. With so many families out of work and the economy in such bad shape, I really think this trip was not a smart move on the Obama's. It won't change my politcal veiw on them..
I love seeing all the family pictures of the Obama's : )


Nelson   August 8th, 2010 6:40 am ET

Sorry, but a lavish trip like this at this time is simply in poor taste. Especially after so many previous get-aways. The only fault of the blogger is that he states an inconvenient truth.


cynthia   August 8th, 2010 7:59 am ET

not to prudent. i have defended obama since election. didn't vote for him but respect his winning.

i am thinking she should have stayed in the US and spent the $$ on the "local" market. of course that would have been criticized also. (damned if you do and damned if you don't)

seems quite extravagant in my view. poor judgement comes to mind.

IMHO


Taxpayer444   August 8th, 2010 11:04 am ET

Electing Obama is the greatest mistake America ever made. His supporters can spin and make excuses what is happening in this country. They can blame Bush for the current problems. In the end, what happens to this November and in 2012 will not be in his favor. The Obama's should enjoy themselves on taxpayers money. Eventually they will become private citizens again to spend their own money. What goes around, comes around.


vallan   August 8th, 2010 11:18 am ET

Parties! Good times! Wine! Banquets! Beaches! Money! Laughter! Vacations! Golf! Personalized rock concerts at the White House! High fashion! Hollywood types fawning all over you!

Meanwhile, the rest of us are broke, unemployed, or on the battlefield.


Nana Brown   August 8th, 2010 11:50 am ET

Mrs Obama has all the right in the world to take her daughters where ever she wants people seem to forget this lady was a lawyer before she became our first lady. It's non of any ones business where she takes her family. Get a life.
The right wingers,the tea braggers along with, FOX and Sarah Pailen forgotten the $150,000 spent on clothes and not to forget Sarah Pailen. Pailen not a lawyer or a Princeton or Harvard graduate but who did see Russia from Alaska bought her daughter Bristol for being naughty a condo worth how much? FOX reporters suffers from memory loss Mrs Bush traveled with her twin daughters to Africa and Rush did not squeaky or squawk spitting garbage . Sadly the right wingers and tea baggies have very little to do with there time.There are there own worst enemies, They ware only in there heart and spit out venom from the few media they own or are employed in. Mrs Obama is absolutely wonderful, she is bright and beautiful. God bless America we all forget why the Roman Empire fell... it was people like the right wingers passing judgment and concealing there own evil.


peter   August 8th, 2010 2:15 pm ET

did she brought the dog too?/! why?

who pay for it?

while the country is struggling, we do not believe she is doing the right thing. think about people are lossing jobs. no money to pay the food and rent.

what is the massage they are sending for: we should not select her husband!


Dada   August 8th, 2010 8:36 pm ET

People, do not be naive. All these politicians live like kings at our expense. It is not a matter of being Democrat or Republican, it is just our system that sucks.

Look at them, always happy and smiling when two wars are going on,
where our brave boys and girls are being sent (victimized) to kill thousand of innocent people fighting these two stupid wars.

Open your eyes!!!


GEORGE   August 8th, 2010 9:49 pm ET

THE SECRET SERVIDE PROBABLY TOLD HER WHERE TO STAY,,IN A SAFE PLACE, IN THE OPULANT PALACE..MAYBE SHE WANTED TO STAY IN A LESS EXPENSIVE PLACE,,BUT SECRET SERVICE SAID NO..


TJ   August 9th, 2010 11:53 am ET

For all of you who are criticizing First Lady Michelle Obama, maybe you should do a little research. The Secret Service determines how many agents will travel with on a trip, the Secret Service also determines where the Official(s) will stay.

The exact number of people traveling with will never be given for security reasons. And as for those questioning the timing well thats simple, the children have summer vacation from school. Should they not be allowed to have fun in their vacation break as our children do.

No one complained when Former President George W. Bush or Former First Lady Laura Bush took vacation while our troops were dying in Iraq.

The right wingers are making the same mistakes the left wingers made in 2004. They are not offering any solutions only highlighten the problems of our nation. Problems that have existed far longer than Obamas, Bush´s or even Clinton´s presidentcies


LE   August 9th, 2010 1:37 pm ET

The right wing nuts are out in force, every move the Obamas make they ask why.


JOANNE   August 9th, 2010 3:22 pm ET

wE LIKE TO SEE THE pRESIDENTS & THEIR FAMILIES GO TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY... it looks like the Obamas have their private religious moments in their official residence..& I can understand it..perhaps there is a chapel in the white house....hope so, in these troubled times there is si much to pray for ...so many young people LOST in the 2 wars,,starving people in this country, unemployment,,foreclosures..etc....


Cathy   August 9th, 2010 5:16 pm ET

@nina1fox,
President Bush and his family were not globe-trotting. Most of his time out of office was spent at his home with just his family which meant no more security than usual. Good grief, if working from one's home is a problem, we best fire half the country. Cajazz is so naive, are you going to tell him?


elle   August 9th, 2010 6:01 pm ET

I agree with those who feel the First Lady probably did not exercise the best judgment given the cost of the trip to taxpayers. Not every destination would be so expensive.

I think it's fine for people to support Michelle but why must everything be at the expense of someone else? For the most part, we have had very gracious First Ladies. There's no need to attack Laura Bush simply because you're not a Republican. Respect for others equates to self-respect.


Chris   August 9th, 2010 6:53 pm ET

I am a different Chris that the one above. I don't think the First Lady made the best decision for her and her daughter, but I don't think criticism about the trip means she's not a good First Lady. It seems everyone here tries to put blame on Republicans for every negative comment about the President and First Lady. Given his approval ratings, apparently many Independents and possibly Democrats who are not far left have some concerns as well. Why not just focus on the particular issue; regardless of which party is in office, this would not the best choice of destinations given the US economy and the cost to taxpayers. Again, it has nothing to do with her political party.


Sharon Guenthner   August 9th, 2010 10:12 pm ET

If Michelle Obama needs to take friends on vacation at our expense why not at least stay within the US. ? Our travel industry could use the
infusion of business too!


Michele   August 9th, 2010 10:12 pm ET

OK... so she is currently vacationing in Spain. Then it is on to Panama City, Florida. Who is paying for these trips? I don't care where she vacations as long as the hard working taxpayers are not footing her expenses.


nirmala   August 10th, 2010 2:01 pm ET

Wonderful job, darling


Rose   August 10th, 2010 3:27 pm ET

@ Cathy

Don't call others naive when you have no concept of what happened concerning GW Bush.

When does a president (GW Bush) need to spend a whopping 1,020 days on vacation? Being in Washington was probably too much scrutiny for the inept Bush.

George W. Bush spent more than a third of his two terms on vacation. 487 days at Camp David. Plus GW Bush as president made 77 visits to his ranch in Texas and spent another 490 days there. 43 days at the Bush Kennebunkport compound.

Total: 1,020 days in 8 years. Bush set the record for most vacation time taken by president. Compare that to Pres Carter: 79 days in 4 years. Pres Clinton: 152 days in 8 years.

GW Bush took off the entire month of August 2001, about 6 months after becoming president. On August 6, 2001 Bush was given the President's Daily Brief that:

"BIN LADIN DETERMINED TO STRIKE IN US" (now de-classified). Bush must have been too busy playing golf or roaming around his ranch to deal with this important "working" matter – it only led to 9/11. . .that's all.


Shevanthie   August 11th, 2010 1:59 pm ET

Hi i am writing from sri lanka as i was watching your programme larry king on cnn and i could not believe that you guys were being so petty to the family that stands as your leader despite what you say about equal rights – i think you americans are the biggest hypocrites in the world just giving the lady a hard time cause she is black and on holiday – how come none of you raised your voices when the bush family holidayed despite the fact that you were at war sacrificing your children and families ? At least this holiday your leader is still with you working the issues out – its his 1st time give the guy a chance stop wallowing in self pity get of your back sides and make the change happen – you are behaving like a bunch of spoiled sissys


Kathy   August 12th, 2010 11:15 am ET

I write this from Nairobi,Kenya. America,you have a family to emulate dispite such not so welcome move by the first lady to have such an exp.trip. Celebrate the Obama family instead of tolarating them till 2012,what if God gives another term?


nina1fox   August 13th, 2010 5:25 pm ET

@Cathy
Yes, Bush was indeed digging in the dirt on his ranch in Texas for most of his first term in office at $400,000 annual salary. He certainly was not in Washington. In this day and age, information can be passed through our technical devices; however, to command a country, it’s best to have the “warm body” in Washington! We not only paid Bush $400,000 a year while he played around on his ranch, we will be paying his retirement salary of $191,300 per year for the rest of his life. See below:
“Congress enacted the Former Presidents Act (FPA) in 1958 to provide former
Presidents an annual lifetime pension, currently $191,300, and office allowances
administered by the General Services Administration (GSA). The FPA, as amended,
also provides former Presidents with travel funds and mailing privileges (3 U.S.C. 102
note). Secret Service protection for former Presidents is also authorized by statute.
P.L. 110-161, the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, authorizes $2,478,000 in
funding for former Presidents. The President’s FY2009 budget requests $2,934,000 to
provide former Presidents with pensions and office allowances.”

Regarding Cajazz….. Naïve, he is NOT! He certainly has infinite more knowledge than I. Why not ask him and find out?


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