Aug 6, 2010

Anger over Michelle's $380,000 Spanish vacation paid by US taxpayers

A report at the link below says:

Michelle Obama (pictured) today faced a fresh wave of attacks over her lavish break in Spain with 40 friends which has cost U.S. taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.

The First Lady has been lambasted for her extravagance at a time when the economy is still struggling. One blogger went so far as to brand her a modern-day Marie Antoinette.

The exact cost of the trip is unclear as Mrs. Obama, 46, and her friends are footing personal expenses - including accommodation at Marbella's five-star Hotel Villa Padierna - themselves.

However, U.S. taxpayers will pick up the tab for the First Lady's 68-strong security detail, her personal staff - and the use of presidential jet Air Force Two.

The cost for the secret service team will run about $95,000 for the length of the vacation.

Use of Air Force Two, the Air Force version of a 757, comes in at $145,835 for the round trip. This does not include time on the ground.

The American public will also cover the cost of the only official part of the holiday, a visit to the Spanish royal family on the island of Majorca.

A conservative estimate for the vacation for Michelle and her daughter puts the total amount at more than $380,000.

White House press secretary Robin Gibbs was asked at a briefing if there were any concerns about how the visit was being viewed by the public.

'The First Lady is on a private trip,' he said. 'She is a private citizen and is the mother of a daughter on a private trip. I think I'd leave it at that.'

Even so, anger is mounting in the U.S. as the First Lady will have enjoyed eight vacations by the end of the summer!