Friday, August 6, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake - Michelle Obama Version

Spanish police close public beach for Michelle Obama's £250,000 Spanish holiday (8/6/2010 Mail Online)

"Michelle Obama today faced a fresh wave of attacks over her lavish break in Spain with 40 friends, which could easily cost U.S. taxpayers a staggering £50,000 a day. [That's US$80,000 a day.]

"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.

"And her critics will be further annoyed when they learn that the president's wife had a Spanish beach closed off today so that she, her daughter and their entourage could go for a swim.

"Spanish police cleared off a stretch of beach at the Villa Padierna Hotel in Marbella after the Obamas had finished a busy day of sightseeing.

"Police used palm trees and police tape to mark off the boundaries of a 100-yard expanse for the American delegation. On either side, onlookers gawked - and police occasionally stopped and searched sun lovers if they strayed too close to the private party.

"It is unclear whether the police presence was paid for by Spain - or whether a nasty invoice could be landing in the lap of the American taxpayer.

"The exact cost of the trip is unclear as Mrs Obama, 46, and her friends are footing personal expenses themselves - which is just as well.

"... Whether or not the taxpaying American will be paying for meals, they will definitely be footing the bill for the First Lady's 68-strong security detail, her personal staff - and the use of presidential jet Air Force Two.

"The per diems for the secret service team runs at around £172 each, which amounts to nearly £60,000 [US$95,800] for the length of the summer break.

"Use of Air Force Two, the Air Force version of a 757, comes in at £91,900 [US$146,700] for the round trip. This does not include time on the ground.

"Mrs Obama's personal staff, of which there are an unknown amount and who might cost considerably more per day, also have to be taken into account.

"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.

"This will involve transport there and back for the entourage - as well as travel, accommodation, food and expenses for all while on the island.

"Conservative estimates already put the total cost at £150,000. With Majorca to come, the bill will be more like £250,000. [That's nearly US$400,000.]

"Back in the U.S., anger was mounting - especially as it has emerged the First Lady will have enjoyed eight holidays by the end of the summer." [The article continues.]

The White House mouthpiece Gibbs says Mrs. Obama is on a private trip. Yeah right. If that's the case, she should pay for her staff (more than 20 at the last count), secret service, the Air Force Two, Spanish police, everything. She should also compensate for the beach goers who were blocked access and had their bags searched. Her multi-millionaire husband (he may be worth over $10 million by now) can shell out a mere half million dollars for her and their daughter's little vacation, can't he?

Qu'ils mangent de la brioche...


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