The First Lady’s Vacation: Excessive or Just an Escape?

By Kate McCarthy

Aug 9, 2010 8:51am

The First Lady’s vacation may be over but the fallout from its high price tag is not. Michelle Obama is under fire for her trip to Spain that included expensive hotel rooms and a bill for the Secret Service reportedly close to a quarter of a million dollars.

The five day trip to Spain during a recession was “not a smart move” politically ABC News’ Cokie Roberts told me this morning – but asked “in the grand scheme of things, what real difference does it make?”

“The president is in trouble with the voters because of the economy and whatever the First Lady does is not going to make any difference one way or another,” Roberts said on "Good Morning America." 

But despite the recent criticism, the First Lady is still wanted by Democrats out on the campaign trail. Pennsylvania Democratic Senatorial candidate Joe Sestak said Michelle Obama is his “No. 1 choice.”

Michelle Obama follows in a long line of campaigning First Ladies whose popularity rose as their husbands’ approval ratings fell.

“[Michelle Obama is] not responsible for the economy and so she doesn’t take the same kind of heat, and that is traditionally true for First Ladies,” Roberts told me. “She is very much in the path of other First Ladies who have come before her and people like these women because they go out and do good and have causes that everybody can get behind.”

Watch my interview with Cokie Roberts here and then weigh in – was the First Lady's trip excessive or just an escape?

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–George Stephanopoulos

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