Doug Powers gave you the heads-up last month about the First Lady’s lavish Spanish adventure. She touched down yesterday with her youngest daughter, dozens of friends, and phalanx of government bodyguards in tow. The luxury resort of Marbella rejoiced — and our hapless State Department blanched — as she embarked on her first “walkabout” clad in a one-shoulder Jean Paul Gaultier top:
The Obama administration faced an embarrassing diplomatic blunder today after it was forced to pull a warning about racism in Spain – just as the First Lady arrived in the country for a summer holiday.
Soon after touching down in the Costa del Sol yesterday morning, Michelle Obama was pictured taking in the sights of Marbella with daughter Sasha, nine, surrounded by a throng of bodyguards.
Staff at the U.S. State Department removed the contentious advice to travellers, which included the phrase ‘racist prejudices could lead to the arrest of Afro-Americans who travel to Spain,’ from its website on Monday.
She is on a four-day visit and will be staying at the five-star Villa Padierna, rated as one of the world’s top 30 hotels, with 40 friends. The party has reserved 60 rooms.
…Flags welcoming the Obama family were waving in the breeze as Marbella – often associated with reality TV and gangsters – geared up for their arrival.
A large billboard reading: ‘Welcome Obama Family: Thank you for choosing Marbella!’ painted in red, white and blue hung in the city.
The Chicago Sun Times is keeping tabs on all of Mrs. Obama’s anti-recessionista travel:
Mrs. Obama’s U.S. Air Force jet landed at Malaga on Wednesday; she skipped celebrating her husband’s 49th birthday with him. (Daughter Malia, 12, is at overnight camp.) Mrs. Obama pays for personal expenses — as do her friends who arrived on their own — but that only covers a small part of the expense. Taxpayers pick up the tab for staff and security at the exclusive hotel and most of the expenses for the plane.
First ladies often go on vacations, with and without the president. An issue for Mrs. Obama may be how many: New York in March; Chicago, over Memorial Day; Los Angeles in June; Camp David — sort of an extension of the White House — in July; Maine in July, to highlight Acadia National Park, and now Spain. Mrs. Obama is glamorizing Spain’s coastal resorts before her Aug. 14 first family weekend visit to Florida’s Gulf Coast, to encourage tourists scared away by the oil spill. Starting Aug. 19, the Obamas will spend 10 days in Martha’s Vineyard.
Andrea Tantaros rightly dubs Mrs. O a “modern-day Marie Antoinette.”
Like Mrs. O’s old Chicago socialite pal Desiree Rogers liked to say before her profligate, negligent ways got her kicked out of the White House: Laissez les bon temps rouler.