First Lady Michelle Obama arrives in the Bay Area today to make several appearances, including a fundraiser dinner with Alice Waters. Some local members of the Republican Party, however, are shaking their fists at passing clouds after getting wind that Mrs. Obama used taxpayer dollars for these fundraising trips.
With the economy sputtering and millions of Americans unemployed, "it's troubling that the president and his wife use the cover of some flimsy excuse to come to the Bay Area when the real purpose of the trip is fundraising," said Harmeet Dhillon, chairwoman of the San Francisco Republican Party. "I don't think the taxpayers should be footing the bill."
Michelle Obama's visit to the Bay Area today includes no public events. She begins at the Claremont Hotel in Oakland, where 200 guests are expected to attend a locally produced breakfast supervised by Waters, an author and pioneer in the food industry and founder of Berkeley's Chez Panisse, one of the nation's most famous restaurants.
Hear, hear! Mrs. Obama has a lot of nerve, indeed. As many of you know, former First Lady Laura Bush would never have spent taxpayer dollars while in office. Ever. In fact, she used to setup a card table by the roadside to sell sweet tea, cookies, and ten-second glimpses of George W. Bush's aborted-brother-in-a-jar for a nickel a pop. She would then use her meager yet honest earnings to stay at youth hostels and Best Westerns around the country, living off cans of kidney beans and the kindness of strangers, in effort to help her husband's 2004 reelection campaign.
Today, the First Lady and Waters will host at least two breakfast fundraisers, which ranged in ticket price from $1,000 for general seating at the Claremont to $5,000 for a photo reception to a whopping $25,000.