By Humphrey Carter

U.S First Lady Michelle Obama and nine-year-old daughter Sasha flew into a political storm on Sunday when they jetted out of Palma after lunch with King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia and Princess Letizia at Marivent Palace to mark the end of their five-day holiday in Spain.

While the “private family visit” to Marbella and its surrounding area was front page news across Spain and topped all of the TV news bulletins, back in the States questions were being asked about the trip. “Michelle Obama's controversial trip to Spain,” was how CBS news network covered the story. “Republican and Democrat strategists duke it out over what First Lady's trip will mean to Americans,” was its lead.
USA Today was yesterday running an online poll “Michelle Obama is back from Spain - what do you think'” while ABC News claimed yesterday: “critics say Michelle Obama's trip to Spain was tone deaf- do you agree.” So, why the controversy?
The fact she visited some of Spain's most important monuments and landmarks and had no problem mixing with the locals in Marbella, won the hearts and minds of the Spanish, but the trip has apparently done little to please her fellow Americans.

Having stayed at a luxury hotel where rooms cost between 200 and 5000 pounds per night, ABC reported it “an extravagance that some say is insensitive while the country is in recession.” “It's out of balance its not a smart move” one Republican strategist said and his sentiments were echoed on many cable news broadcasts over the weekend.

The White House has defended the trip stressing that the Obamas paid their own way but U.S. tax payers did foot the security bill which was estimated at a quarter of a million dollars.

Other political strategists accused the First Lady of “failing to convey that she senses the plight of working families with unemployment at 9.6 percent and 70'000 jobs lost over the past month.”

The Obamas' visit to Palma was in the end very brief - an estimated two hours in total and she had no time to see anything of the city.
There had been reports that they may have enjoyed a tour of the bay of Palma on board the royal yacht but both the Obamas and the Spanish royal family had tight Sunday schedules to comply with.

The First Lady and Sasha were greeted by the royal family outside of their Marivent Palace on the last day of her five-day visit.
The royal family released a traditional Majorcan menu to the press consisting of gazpacho soup, grilled turbot, veal escalopes with mustard sauce, rice with sautéed mushrooms, and ratatouille.

Ice cream and fresh fruit were served for dessert.
Obama gave the King handicrafts as a gift, while he presented her and her daughter with some seeds for the White House garden.


To be able to write a comment, you have to be registered and be logged in.

* Mandatory fields

Currently there are no comments.