For vacation junkie Michelle Obama, there are plenty more exotic locales to visit. While some of her favorite destinations include Vail, Spain, Hawaii and Martha’s Vineyard, she has been “scouting out some more places.” In an interview with Charlie Rose of CBS News, the First Lady extolled India as a travel destination saying that she would “love to travel even more around here.”
In many of her trips, she travels without her husband, bringing the children and an entourage of friends and security. On vacations with her husband, the First Lady often flies separately, increasing travel costs even more.
One of her most expensive trips was to Spain in 2010, which cost taxpayers at least $467,000 for Secret Service protection and other expenses. Her visit to South Africa cost a whopping $424,000 just for the flight and crew costs.
According to Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, “"The American people can ill afford to keep sending the First Family on vacations around the globe…..There needs to be greater sensitivity to the costs borne by taxpayers for these personal trips.”
Judicial Watch has noted that the First Family enjoyed 16 vacations in their first three years in office. In 2012, the Obamas squeezed in a nice visit to Aspen, Colorado as well as a sightseeing excursion to Mount Rushmore with “the girls.” Yet, this has only whetted Mrs. Obama’s appetite for more travel. She told Rose, “There are still wonderful places here in the U.S. You know, we're trying to check those off…We've tried to go to every national park.”
It must be nice to see every national park and long to visit other “wonderful” places. The problem is that American voters did not send Barack Obama to the White House to give his family a free passport to see the world. This type of taxpayer abuse is obscene, especially given the nation’s horrible economy with millions of citizens out of work. In contrast to the First Family living the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” millions of Americans are trying to figure out how to survive in this Obama economy.
On television, they see Mrs. Obama enjoying vacations and her husband spending plenty of time on his favorite pastime. As President, Obama has played 100 rounds of golf, but only 10 this year due to his hectic campaign schedule. Mrs. Obama is also feeling the heat of the campaign, traveling the country in search of precious donations. This “work” is taking her away from her normal rigorous vacation schedule.
In fact, Rose asked the First Lady if there was anywhere in the world she wanted to visit. She said “the truth is New Orleans. I've been there several times, but I've never been to the French Quarter. Because when we're there, we're usually working.”
For the First Lady, “working” is being honored at fancy fundraisers at nice restaurants. It is such hard work being Michelle Obama!
She will get a chance to take a break from the “tough” campaign trail and will lead a delegation of U.S. representatives to the London Olympics next week.
For the First Lady, life is not half bad, if only she had some more time for vacations!