The entitled Michelle Obama: Clueless or just arrogant?

Fearing for image, First Lady’s aides warned against Spain vacation

Byron York
Washington Examiner
9/4/2010

The New York Times reports First Lady Michelle Obama’s aides cautioned against her going on the early August European vacation in which she stayed at a 5-star resort in Spain and mingled with royalty. The lavish trip, the aides reportedly argued, could result in harm to her image. “Aides say privately that they warned her there would be a cost to the trip, but she overruled them, insisting it was a rare chance to spend time with Sasha and with a friend whose father had died,” the paper reports. “But the intensity of the uproar — including accusations that she was a ‘modern-day Marie Antoinette’ — caught the White House and Mrs. Obama off guard.”

The trip resulted in the first extended negative press of the First Lady’s time in the White House. Critics questioned why Mrs. Obama chose to go to a glitzy, high-priced resort at a time when unemployment is high and many Americans are suffering economically.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll taken during the trip showed that just 50 percent of those surveyed had a positive impression of Mrs. Obama — down from 64 percent in April 2009 and 55 percent earlier this year. Nevertheless, she remains marginally more popular than her husband, whose personal approval rating was at 46 percent in the Journal poll.

Despite the first lady’s falling approval numbers, the White House maintains that Mrs. Obama is in high demand among Democrats who want her to campaign for them. When asked by CNN shortly after the Spain vacation whether the first lady would be “out on the campaign trail between now and November 2,” top Obama aide David Axelrod answered, “I’m sure that she will.”

Now, in the Times report, Axelrod is a little more measured. “I think she’s happy to go out and support folks who have stood up for things that she thinks are important,” Axelrod told the paper. “But I don’t think she’s eager to jump into the fray in a very political way, and I don’t think she will.”

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