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Michelle Blames it on the Kids

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Originally posted at American Thinker

Michelle Obama must think most people are easily duped. To quell the disapproval of Americans who struggle to come up with the extra money to fill their gas tanks, Michelle has to spend lots of time – between booking vacations and deciding how big a wardrobe chest to load into the cargo plane – coming up with justifications to subdue the public’s disapproval of her obvious addiction to pricey vacations.

Last year, prior to heading off to Martha’s Vineyard, Michelle took Sasha on an exotic summer visit to Spain.  The I-dare-you-to-say-something excuse for that excursion was that it was a “private mother-daughter trip with longtime family friends,” which in itself is a contradiction in terms.

A “private mother-daughter” trip with 40 “close” friends and a taxpayer-funded security detail of 68 is hardly an intimate family outing.  The entourage was so large that the group required 30 rooms in “Spain’s most exclusive hotel the Villa Padierna, a golf and spa resort located along the coast from Marbella.”

Sorry, but throwing around mother-daughter language, as if Sasha and Shelley were going to Spain to spend one-on-one “Mommy and Me” time, was nothing more than a manipulative shield used to suppress well-deserved criticism for a four-day trip rumored to cost $375,000.

Every Christmas the Obamas kick back for a low-key holiday in Hawaii on a “family” break that runs about $1.5 million for transport planes; exorbitant rent on a mansion called the “Winter White House;” and lodging for security, staff, and medical backup.  Before anyone dares criticize, it’s important to remember that the break is a longtime family tradition where two darling little girls get to make an annual visit to walk the hallowed ground that is their father’s alleged birthplace.

Every couple of months Michelle has to pray that America is either consumed by the economic pain inflicted by her husband or afflicted with short-term memory loss, because between tag-along official trips barely a couple of months pass before the first lady partakes of on-site international cuisine and global sightseeing, compliments of the nation’s taxpayers.

If White House sources are correct, Michelle is doing one of the following:  either floating another lame excuse to bunk in some exclusive $2,500 a night hotel somewhere, exploiting lunch with her daughters as an excuse to shop in Paris, or treating her liberal body to an expensive massage accompanied by a martini made with “top-shelf vodka.”

Take for instance how, after Obama encouraged America to save money by skipping vacation, less than 50 days after returning home from Oahu Michelle commissioned AF1 to ferry her as chaperone to a 2010 giggling-girls ski trip in Vail, Colorado

Besides not heeding her husband’s austerity advice, the first lady of healthy eating dined on ancho-chili short ribs at “141 grams of fat per serving.” Then, after dessert, chose to camp out like a girl scout in the “upscale Sebastian Hotel on Vail Mountain, where rooms start at $650 a night and range up to more than $2,400 for multi-bedroom suites.”

Lest we forget, Michelle and her daughters spent time tasting and touring their way through New York City, sightseeing in Los Angeles, barbequing and memorializing on Memorial Day in Chicago, hiking in Maine, bobbing for tar balls on the Florida Gulf Coast, and recovering from a whirlwind of activity on an annual vacation in Chilmark.

Ever family-minded Michelle also accompanied her husband to Indonesia, South America, Ireland, the UK and Paris, trips that incorporated retail therapy, seeing the sights, fine dining, and recreating in between official duties that included breaking English protocol and forcing conservative Muslim men to shake her hand.

This year, just prior to heading to Martha’s Vineyard, Mrs. Obama managed to squeeze in a pre-vacation/ official business/vacation to South Africa, accompanied as usual by an entourage of tag-along family and friends. If cost estimates for travel and security are correct, the jaunt cost American taxpayers anywhere from $500,000 to a reported $800,000.

Before Americans jump to conclusions and protest unfairly, “U.S. Embassy Spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau made clear that the trip was partially a personal pilgrimage for the first lady” – another sentimental crusade with a huge price tag partially financed with tax dollars deducted from the unemployment checks of 3.5 million people, a fraction of the 13.9 million unemployed individuals presently collecting benefits.

Thus, justification for spending a half a million dollars obviously demanded playing the trusty old “family card,” which may be why Mrs. Obama brought along Sasha and Malia, Grandma Robinson, and her brother’s two kids. Prior to the trip, and in hopes of evoking the “awww” factor, a spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in South Africa said “A visit to South Africa is important for them as a family.”

The African “excursion included tourist stops to historical landmarks and museums” and a “chance for Mrs. Obama to meet privately with Nelson Mandela – an experience she described as ‘surreal’” – an opinion one can only hope had nothing to do with Mr. Mandela’s shirt.

Nevertheless, the rationalization for spending an exorbitant amount of money on a private family safari included the standard Obama-family-Hallmark-moment excuse, as well as Michelle addressing “youth leadership, education,” and sharing with Africa her views on “health and wellness” between scarfing down French fries, huge sausages, and fried fat cakes in Muchudu village in Botswana.

So, after three years and the reported millions in taxpayer dollars spent this year alone on Michelle Obama’s vacation expenses, family time, “private” family vacations, and the “long-planned family trip” excuses are starting to get old.

Especially for Americans whose chances of ever taking a family vacation again are almost as likely as Mrs. Obama wearing a designer outfit twice, staying at a Motel 6™, or going 60 days without taking off on a costly excursion financed with other people’s money, justified with the excuse that visiting Costa del Sol is “quality time” with the kids.

Michelle Obama big ‘sacrifices’ on her Vail vacation

Originally posted at

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/02/michele_obama_big_sacrifces_on.html blog

It has been almost a month and a half since the Obama family returned from 10 days in Oahu.  With all the breastfeeding advice she’s been giving out lately, an exhausted First Lady is long overdue for some R & R.

Relinquishing her role as tireless workaholic, Michelle decided to revisit last year’s mother/daughter ski trip to the Ski Liberty Resort in Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania.  Only this year, the Obama women have taken to the slopes in Vail, Colorado on a “private family trip” accompanied by “several close friends.”

When unveiling his budget, Michelle’s husband reminded Americans, “Everybody’s going to have to give a little bit.”  The President even suggested: “If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, you might put off a vacation.”

According to Obama, “Just like every family in America, the federal government has to … live within its means.”  Which is exactly what Mrs. Obama is doing, spending time with her daughters at a resort that is much more modest than she’s used to.

Actually, the whole excursion to Vail Mountain is one of self-sacrifice.  According to administration officials, the First Lady and friends are merely “chaperoning…children on a ski trip,” otherwise Michelle would likely be home hunkered down, tirelessly working in the “Let’s Move” office of the White House.

On a tight budget, the ski trip is but a few steps above a school-sponsored field trip.  The chaperones are staying at the Sebastian Hotel, where lodging starts at “$605 per night … and head north of $2,000 for multi-bedroom suites.”  Those rates are certainly more modest than the $6,600 a night Mrs. Obama was rumored to have spent at the Hotel Villa Padierna in Costa del Sol.

The Sebastian touts “spas, a Frost Bar, a Market for nibbles, a mountain-view pool, hot tubs and a fire pit.”  A bevy of ski valets assist patrons “into warm boots and out onto the mountain,” which is just the kind of pared-down amenity that penny-pinchers across America can easily relate to.

Michelle arrived with “A motorcade of about a dozen vehicles, including 15 state and local law enforcement officers, traveled from the Eagle County Regional Airport to Vail…Roads were temporarily blocked to make way for the motorcade.”

Despite the extravagant entourage, when it comes to frugality Mrs. Obama is a pro.  A flight from DC to Colorado is 1,700 miles and takes approximately 3 hours.  Although the First Lady usually employs a large Air Force jet to ferry her from vacation spot to vacation spot, this time she answered the call to live within the Obama family means in the following way: To save money, instead of Air Force One, which costs about $100,000 per hour to fly, Michelle chose a less expensive jet.

Not including the weight of ski equipment, a fair guesstimation would be that the Michelle Vail Vacation one-way flight cost much less than what would otherwise have set the American taxpayer back $300,000.

Moreover, Michelle’s savvy decision to travel as often as possible without Barack also eliminates about 180 pounds of excess baggage weight, and in the long run helps in tamping down overall costs.

As an added budgetary bonus, the President joined Michelle in setting an example of prudence.  Barry saved coaching fees for Sasha’s basketball team when another coach failed to show up.  Although Sasha was on the bunny slope with Mom in Vail, our thrifty President paused stirring up union trouble in Wisconsin long enough to serve America as a “parent coach” for a team of nine year-old girls, and selflessly did it for free.

Costa del Solace – American Thinker – August 10, 2010

Originally posted at American Thinker

Those of us who thought the “Michelle tours Marbella” saga ended after the First Lady dined on char-grilled turbot with the King and Queen of Spain and returned to Washington DC were mistaken.

Seems today the Obama spin team has taken prevarication to a new level.  I knew things were getting dicey when Michelle decided to skip the Starlite Gala hosted by Obama friend and frequent White House guest Eva Longoria, and Zorro, better known as Antonio Banderas.

Supposedly, the star-studded event was coincidentally scheduled for the same weekend Michelle and her entourage visited the Villa Padierna.  Trust me, with the Obamas nothing happens by chance.

When Mrs. Obama surprisingly declined the invitation to Marbella’s toniest event, it was obvious Barry must have warned America’s jet-setting first wife to cool it because political blowback was splashing all over him and the Democratic Party.

Bloggers, cable news shows and every major news organization, including even CBS, questioned the Spanish trip’s timing.  Americans struggling to pay mortgages and feed families justifiably felt Michelle’s “ritzy vacation in Spain while the U.S. faces tough economic times was off-message — as was highlighting the beaches in Spain after urging Americans to head to Florida’s Gulf Coast to help out the tourism industry impacted by the BP oil spill.”

Americans are disgusted by Michelle flaunting excess in the face of struggling unemployed citizens who just last week were told the España excursion was a “private” mother-daughter trip.  Fed-up, people are not buying the newest heart-wrenching story that the five-day jaunt to Spain was a self-sacrificial outing made to comfort a mourning friend. As a result, damage control is officially in full swing.

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times wrote that Michelle Obama “made the trip because she promised one of her closest friends, a longtime Chicago pal who just lost her father, she would spend time with her.”  Are Americans supposed to believe that a quarter-million dollar plus, transatlantic taxpayer-funded trip took place in lieu of a belated condolence card and a floral arrangement?

The story being circulated is that Anita Blanchard, Michelle’s obstetrician, lost her father recently and supposedly, “Mrs. Obama was not able to make the funeral at the beginning of July.”

Does Michelle Obama rearrange the calendar only for vacations, but not for funerals?

Dr. Blanchard purportedly promised her daughter a trip to Spain for her birthday and invited Michelle and Sasha to tag along to spend post-funeral time together. So let’s see, Michelle left Barack with Oprah Winfrey on his birthday to travel with baby doc Blanchard to one of Europe’s poshest resorts.

How did the conversation unfold?  “Oh Anita, I’m so sorry about your dad’s untimely death. Let’s assuage the grief by spending some girlfriend time eating tapas and chatting inside a canvas beach hut beside the sunny Mediterranean Sea.”

Sorry, but Michelle strutting through Marbella in a one-sleeved black and white Jean Paul Gaultier top and oversized Chanel sunglasses doesn’t exactly convey the message of a woman consoling a bereaved friend.  Maybe it’s just that Middle America is unacquainted with the Chicago funerary tradition of flamenco dancing a month after burying a parent.

The White House is also saying that Mrs. Obama did not travel with three-dozen close and intimate friends as reported in the press. So why were 60 rooms reserved in the Villa Padierna for an average of $2500 a night?

According to Mrs. Obama’s spokeswoman Catherine McCormick Lelyvel, the grief getaway included “six White House advance staffers and two East Wing staffers, Deputy Chief of Staff Melissa Winter and Mrs. Obama’s personal assistant, Kristen Jarvis.”

In addition to the 250 security personnel supplied by the Spaniards, Mrs. Obama employed “three shifts of uniformed and plainclothes agents and military personnel flew with her on a big Air Force 757.”

In addition to attempting to clarify Michelle’s trip, Lynn Sweet asked the obvious question: “So why did Mrs. Obama go to Spain at this time? She’s not tone-deaf politically.”  Does the Washington Bureau Chieffor Chicago Sun Times mean politically “tone-deaf” on the style of President Obama?

In the article entitled, “Inside story of Michelle’s trip,” a probative Lynn Sweet inquired even further: “What was behind the ‘mother-daughter’ vacation?”  You mean besides perusing exclusive shops, strutting around town in strappy Maison Martin Margiela sandals, sunning on a balmy beach, dining in exquisite restaurants and paying homage to Spain’s “cultural tribute to Muslims” Alhambra Palace?

Presently, presidential Spin Meisters are submerged in a campaign to head off trip-to-Spain flack and are answering Sweet’s inquiries by saying Michelle “felt it was important as a dear friend” to do what? Travel to a five-star resort, barricade off large swathes of a public Marbella beach and flout the privileged perks of the elite in the face of struggling Americans?

Presidential apologist and shameless lackey, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked at a briefing if there was any concern about “the appearance” of Mrs. Obama’s Spain trip.

With a straight face, Gibbs actually made the following, very private statement: “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.”

Wrong! The day Michelle Obama launched the Let’s Move governmental task force and became America’s spokesperson/monitor for BMI and CEO of the fatty food patrol, the First Lady officially became a very public figure.

This week that same public figure expects America to swallow the story that $75,000 a day was spent on the Costa del Sol to console a bereaved friend, when overdue hugs and tears could have been shared in Washington DC at no cost to the American taxpayer.

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