WASHINGTON–Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha returned from Spain on Sunday, a vacation at a lavish hotel on the Mediterranean coast that triggered her first controversy since becoming first lady. I’m told she 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.
Mrs. Obama is the most popular figure in the Obama orbit — and turned around her image from the 2008 presidential campaign by adamantly staying away from any kind of controversy, focusing on safe issues: combatting childhood obesity and helping military families.
A 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.
But the reason Mrs. Obama made the trip — and other facts, not rumors about the travel — are important in knowing the whole story and understanding why she made the call to go.
First, some numbers. Mrs. Obama did not travel with 40 friends, a number used by some news outlets.
She vacationed with two women, one of them a longtime Chicago pal, Anita Blanchard, who is the obstetrician who delivered Sasha and Malia. Blanchard is married to Marty Nesbitt — President Obama’s buddy and the treasurer of Obama’s presidential campaign fund.
There was one other woman. Total: four daughters among the three women. They paid for their hotel rooms and other personal and travel expenses.
The fact that President O visited Chicago, home of this lady, during this time period, makes this a little awkward… US Tax Payers Waiting To Exhale…