Michele Obama’s lavish, jet-set lifestyle raises questions

First Lady Michele Obama in Spain: The material girl? (AP)

First Lady Michele Obama’s jet-set travels leave critics shaking their heads and wondering why she is living large at taxpayer expense while her husband preaches financial restraint to the rest of America.

Her apparent clueless habit of jetting off to exotic locales while America struggles fuels criticism that she and her husband are out of touch with working class Americans.

At the very least, they aren’t thinking about the message that the First Lady’s lavish travels sends to Americans who struggle to make mortgage payments and put food on the table.

Reports The Seattle Times:

As the U.S. economy endures high unemployment and a jittery stock market, President Obama has preached sacrifice and fiscal discipline. But the pictures coming out of a sunsplashed Spanish resort this week may be sending a different message.

First lady Michelle Obama is on a five-day trip to a luxury resort along with a handful of friends, her younger daughter, Sasha, aides and Secret Service personnel. Her office said the first family will pay for personal expenses, but declined to reveal the taxpayer cost for the government employees. The president stayed home in the United States, as did daughter Malia, 12, who is at camp.

The trip provided plenty of fodder for television news shows, talk-show hosts and bloggers.

Critics portrayed the foreign getaway as tone deaf to the economic anxiety back home. Earlier in the week, the first lady was photographed walking through the streets of the Costa del Sol region wearing a one-shouldered Jean Paul Gaultier top.

Every first family takes vacations. The criticism aimed at Michelle Obama is that she chose to visit a foreign country rather than remain in the United States and support its fragile economy.

In July, the first lady flew to the Florida Panhandle, a tourist spot hit hard by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and delivered the message that for parents “looking for things to do with their kids this summer … this is a wonderful place to visit.”

The opulence of the European trip also has drawn scrutiny. Michelle Obama is staying at the Hotel Villa Padierna, a Ritz-Carlton resort in the mountains outside Marbella. The resort has two golf courses, a posh spa with Turkish baths, views of the Mediterranean Sea and a high-end restaurant specializing in avant-garde fare. Room rates start at $400 and rise to $6,500 for a two-bedroom villa with a private pool and 24-hour butler service.

Writes Andrea Tantaros in The New York Daily News:

Sacrifice is something that many Americans are becoming all too familiar with during this economic downturn. It was a key theme in President Obama’s inaugural address to the nation, and he’s referenced it numerous times when lecturing the country on how to get back on its feet.

But while most of the country is pinching pennies and downsizing  summer sojourns – or forgoing them altogether – the Obamas don’t seem to be heeding their own advice. While many of us are struggling, the First Lady is spending the next few days in a five-star hotel on the chic Costa del Sol in southern Spain with 40 of her “closest friends.” According to CNN, the group is expected to occupy 60 to 70 rooms, more than a third of the lodgings at the 160-room resort. Not exactly what one would call cutting back in troubled times.

Reports are calling the lodgings of  Obama’s Spanish fiesta, the Hotel Villa Padierna in Marbella, “luxurious,” “posh” and “a millionaires’ playground.” Estimated room rate per night? Up to a staggering $2,500. Method of transportation? Air Force Two.

To be clear, what the Obamas do with their money is one thing; what they do with ours is another. Transporting and housing the estimated 70 Secret Service agents who will flank the material girl will cost the taxpayers a pretty penny.

Perhaps it could be that the Obamas, who seem to fancy themselves more along the lines of international celebrities than actual leaders, espouse a different view of sacrifice. When Michelle Obama accompanied her husband to Copenhagen along with best buddy Oprah Winfrey, she billed the trip – an ultimately unsuccessful bid to bring the Olympics to Chicago – as follows: “As much of a sacrifice as people say this is for me or Oprah or the President to come for these few days, so many of you in this room have been working for years to bring this bid home.”

Maureen Dowd of The New York Times weighs in:

Her critics used to paint her as a scary Marxist. Now they cast her as a spoiled princess.

During the campaign, she was caricatured on the cover of The New Yorker as a fist-bumping, gun-toting Black Panther. Now she’s mocked by a New York Daily News blogger as a jet-setting, free-spending Marie Antoinette. (On Spain’s Costa del Sol with Sasha on her husband’s 49th birthday, she did, in effect, say let him eat cake — alone.)

Michelle Obama is the most popular figure in the administration, but last week she had her first brush with getting brushed back in the press.

Some of the women anchoring news shows on MSNBC debated whether the first lady was being “mean” to her husband by deserting him on his birthday for a girls’ getaway to Spain, and whether it was sort of sad, as one put it, that the president, drowning in troubles, had to go to Chicago to find friends (including Oprah) to celebrate with.

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32 Responses to "Michele Obama’s lavish, jet-set lifestyle raises questions"

  1. griff  August 9, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Tighten your belts, America, Michelle needs a new pair of shoes! A truly inspiring American rags-to-riches story.

    “It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.” – author unknown, but I think it was George Bernard Shaw

    • Carl Nemo  August 9, 2010 at 5:05 pm

      Great quote Griff. The words are from the writings of Ayn Rand.

      Carl Nemo **==

      • griff  August 9, 2010 at 10:46 pm

        Yep. Thanks Carl.

  2. myles  August 9, 2010 at 10:44 am

    The material girl is out of control. And her reputation is fast approaching imelda marcos. Despite her lavish spending (of other people’s money), this craven woman is only getting started.

    While the obamas plunder the white house, pelosi, rangle, waters, frank and company have legalized stealing and wasting the taxpayers money.

  3. Al  August 9, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    When will we learn? We keep voting these corrupt, elitist democrats into positions of power and then complain when they show their true colors. Michelle Antoinette and her corruptocrat husband have their hands in the cookie jar now – elections have consequences and we are paying dearly for this one.

  4. Stratocaster  August 9, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    You mean the’re behaving like white people. It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what color you are.

    • griff  August 9, 2010 at 10:49 pm

      Excellent. Maybe it’s not the color but the color of money.

  5. Carl Nemo  August 9, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    She’s acting quite appropriately; I.E., the wife of a “banana republic” dictator. We best not question our betters…no? / : |

    It’s best to lay low with our criticism otherwise we’ll have the Tonton Macoutes kicking the door. Soon, living in the U.S. will be like living in Haiti during the reign of Francois ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier in the 60′s.

    Carl Nemo **==

  6. DejaVuAllOver  August 9, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Maybe she’s just learning what the banksters, Republicans, Max Baucus, Maxine Walters, Michelle Bachman, her husband and most Dems already know: Better take while the gettin’s good. Gawd knows, it beats working for a living.

  7. DejaVuAllOver  August 9, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    That’s depressing, Carl. What’s next? Mme. The Queen Clinton supporting some neoliberal thugs to keep us in line for the banking mafia, looting our resources and subverting our (perhaps) elected government? Oh, wait….. I’m having a Deja Vu All Over moment……… Sorry……

  8. Juliox  August 9, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    I thought they were millionaires before he was elected? Heaven forbid they actually take a vacation overseas. I went to Italy for 2 weeks recently. I must be a repub bankster too–not. In reality, they are creating jobs for the security and transportation industry. Haven’t you heard that the Secret Service will be outsourced to Hackwater?

  9. Stratocaster  August 9, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    We can bitch, whine, and complain all we want, and discuss whether money controls government or the government controls money for hours, but the fact will remain that we the people don’t control anything.

  10. Hadassah  August 9, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Where was all this concern with the previous Presidents. I can remember First Lady Nancy Reagan and her parties at that time in history the economy was turmoil. First Lady Michelle Obama paid her own way and her friends did too. The secret service picks out the hotel she may make a suggestion but the bottom line the SS picks out the hotel that she and her family can stay in. I have no problems with any Presidents or his wife taking a vacation. Why is it a problem that the First Lady takes a vacation. As my mother has stated to me some people only see black people taking a vacation riding a bus or a train going down South. Well there are many people of color that travel the glove. We do have to ask why is it such a big deal if it’s her own dang own money. Its really subliminal prejudice and I just wish some caucsasian person tell the truth and stop hiding behind policitcs. This country still has allot to learn and grow from the hate that is in the hearts. Some people just have issues with the black man if BillClinton was doing the same things exactly he would be the best dang ole President to some it’s sad and I don’t waste time with ignorance and prejudice. Shalom!

    • Jim0001  August 9, 2010 at 8:54 pm

      Blame Regan? What happened to “Blame Bush”? You missed a couple of Presidential terms.
      Did you just wake up from a crack induced holiday?
      This is today. Barack Hussein Obama is prez. Deal with it if you can, I’m having difficulty with it.
      .Here’s the problem. The first family is only going to reimburse the price of first class tickets ($7400) for a plane ride that cost YOU and me $11,500 an Hour. Do the math.

      Please excuse me if I’m not politically correct.

    • griff  August 10, 2010 at 5:52 pm

      I was in elementary school when Reagan was President. Had I been interested in politics as a 12 year-old I would have complained.

    • Kent Shaw  August 11, 2010 at 5:51 am

      As Jim001 stated, Air Force 2 costs many thousands of dollars an hour to operate. Also, 70 SS agents are along for the ride. They need to be housed and fed at taxpayer expense, not to mention their hourly rate plus overtime. There are plenty of nice resorts right here in the good old USA where that money could have been spent.

  11. neondog  August 9, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Listen to them Obama!
    If you just put on your sweater and tell us to turn down the thermo-stat they’ll ensure your re-election.

  12. woody188  August 9, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    I guess if the press is concentrating on Michelle then Barrack is free to visit Man’s Country with Rahm back in Chicago. Perhaps that was the plan all along. It at least explains Michelle’s over-compensation with trips and material goods.

    • Carl Nemo  August 10, 2010 at 12:24 am

      What’s with this “Man’s Country” link. I tried a web search to see if Barack or Rahm had ties to this ‘club’. I can’t find any. Possibly you’ve picked up on something below my “gaydar” sweep.

      When a lifetime membership costs only $10, then juxtaposed against the kinky ‘fun’ that can be had the club; I.E., “bang for the buck” an old defense department expression; then I think this would be in a positive direction concerning balancing the budget for those two and our nation…no? : |

      Carl Nemo **==

  13. Guardhouse lawyer  August 10, 2010 at 2:06 am

    Stimulus: The name Obama. Reaction: knee jerk.

    Where were you people when Dubya was waltzing back and forth to the Crawford ranch once or twice a week for his whole damned presidency? He seemed to have spent more time at the ranch than he did in the White House.

    This is ditto-head crap. Do you want the First Lady and daughter kidnapped by a terrorist because they decide to take the red-eye special instead of flying in the safety of a government airplane? Or would you just lock them into the White House for the duration?

    And even by the low standards of CHB, the bit about Man’s Country is just completely abhorrent.

    I will not ask whether you people have no shame. I will tell you:

    YOU HAVE NO SHAME!

    • griff  August 10, 2010 at 5:48 pm

      You constantly complain of the low standards here at CHB, why do you come here? Surely HuffPo would be more to your liking?

  14. Carl Nemo  August 10, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Yo GHL,

    “Where were you people when Dubya was waltzing back and forth to the Crawford ranch once or twice a week for his whole damned presidency? He seemed to have spent more time at the ranch than he did in the White House.” …extract from post

    Evidently you weren’t monitoring the site at that time because I surely remember your emergence on CHB about six months ago or so. We don’t take prisoners here and yes we roasted the Bushistas for their over the top elitist nonsense too. Obama is basically George W. Bush doing a comedic “blackface routine”.

    ***

    “I will not ask whether you people have no shame. I will tell you:

    YOU HAVE NO SHAME!” …extract from post

    If you are so far above our metric then why do you make commentary to this site? Nothing you write indicates it’s material from the brow of Zeus. We surely don’t need some whining, immature soul providing the duty scolding.

    I still think you are about 12 years old in the attic bedroom along with your model airplanes etc. hanging form the ceiling while your mother is on the warpath to get you off your lazy butt to do some chores; ie, a juvenile web troll.

    Grow up…! : |

    Carl Nemo **==

    • Jim0001  August 10, 2010 at 1:29 pm

      I concur with your thoughts, Mr.Nemo-Bravo!

    • Almandine  August 10, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      Just a one trick pony…

    • griff  August 10, 2010 at 5:55 pm

      From the brow of a trained monkey, perhaps…but I may be too generous.

  15. Guardhouse lawyer  August 10, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    More knees jerking in the wind. I LOVE it.

    More attack the person and ignore the message. I LOVE it.

    Damn, it is fun to watch you people. FUN I tell you.

    Let’s see. Do you want to put the Obama dependents on a red-eye or do you want to give them some security?

    Ain’t none of you answered that one. NONE of you.

    And the racist-overtones blackface remark. PRICELESS.

    I LOVE this place. And I LOVE all of you.

    • Jim0001  August 10, 2010 at 10:14 pm

      Let’s see Mr. Outhouse Lawyer, They would not need a red-eye if they spent all that money in the US.
      Texas is currently still in CONUS. The gulf coast is still in CONUS. The first lady deserted her man and went to Spain instead of helping him BLOW out his candle for his 49th. Our Prez just flew Marine One (a helicopter thingy in case you were unaware) six (6) miles and did not leave the boundry’s of D.C. Now there’s some more well spent taxpayer money. If you are a lawyer and not a cyber-wannabe, if you don’t pay taxes then there is hope for you. Barrack Hussein Obama is looking to appoint a “Blame Bush Czar” with all perks and a 150k salary.

    • griff  August 11, 2010 at 8:18 am

      I don’t give a rat’s ass about Obama’s dependents. And I’ll be sure to tell all my black friends, customers and acquaintances what a racist I am. They’ll get a kick out of it.

      Love you too, kid.

  16. Selita  August 11, 2010 at 1:30 am

    MICHELLE OBAMA’S ALLAH-DAY

    Why was Michelle Obama spreading “stimulus” money in Spain? Do you suppose Barack Hussein Obama told her he can’t get re-elected without the votes of Hispanics who aren’t American citizens and she thought he meant the non-American Hispanics living in Spain?
    At least those foreigners are much better than “voters” in American cemeteries!
    BTW, in 1928 Herbert Hoover’s campaign promised that if he were elected there would be “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.”
    Well, Obama has come up with a Hoover twist and says that if he’s re-elected there will be “a chick in every car and some pot in every garage”!
    For some insights into Obamessiah and his think-alikes, Google “Obama Avoids Bible Verses,” “Obama Supports Public Depravity,” “Government-Approved Illegals,” and “Imam Bloomberg’s Sharia Mosque.”

  17. griff  August 11, 2010 at 8:55 am

    About the closest thing most Americans get to a vacation these days is Google Earth. Way to go, Princess Michelle. I hear Spain is quite nice this time of year.

  18. Jim0001  August 11, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    A guardhouse (also known as a watch house, guard building, guard booth, guard shack, security booth, security building, or sentry building) is a building used to house personnel and security equipment. Guardhouses have historically been dormitories for sentries or guards, and places where sentries not posted to sentry posts wait “on call”, but are more recently manned by a contracted security company. Some guardhouses also function as jails.

  19. Shama  August 12, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    The president who promotes constraint & buckle tightening cannot control his wife. They need to set an example to the struggling Nation. For the past two years it is obvious President Obama has wasted both time & tax payers dollars on making sure he & his wife entertains & travels like lords. It looks like the Obamas got in office to lead a extravagant life style, while millions of Americans have no jobs, have lost their homes, they face misery, while President Obama makes these long sermons; he has only accomplished to deliver to his personal friends & family & show them a good. What a disappointment to the message of hope change.They have sold their sous & integrity to get reelected and that is indeed the most important thing on their mind.

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