What’s troubling here isn’t so much that Michelle Obama staged an shopping trip to impress us all with her “I’m just an average citizen like you guys” routine (as her personal assistant carried the grocery bags), but rather that the Associated Press was a happy and willing participant in the theatrics.
Right outside of D.C. in Alexandria, VA, FLOTUS decided to grab a few things for 30-40 minutes with her assistant at the local Target. She was dressed in a floral button down, black pants, a Nike baseball cap, and shades. But of course, she was still somewhat noticeable. The Associated Press reported that Secret Service arrived 30 minutes before her and blended with the other customers. The only person who recognized the First Lady was her cashier!
In case you’re wondering if it was really her, the White House confirmed it this afternoon saying, “It is not uncommon for the First Lady to slip out to run an errand, eat at a local restaurant or otherwise enjoy the city outside the White House gates,” said Kristina Schake, communications director for the First Lady.
CBS News reports the pics were snapped by an Associated Press photographer who says he was tipped off that she would be there.
The Associated Press isn’t talking about how their guy managed to be in the right place at the right time:
A matter causing some suspicion about the trip is how an Associated Press photographer happened to be in position to catch the first lady — in baseball hat, sunglasses, flowered top, with tan purse and shopping bags — leaving the store.
“Good source work,” said Paul Colford, a spokesman for the wire service in New York.
The pictures were taken by Charles Dharapak, a veteran White House photographer for The Associated Press. The well-regarded Dharapak cheerfully declined to give POLITICO an exclusive on his exclusive.
“We have been besieged with interview requests, but Charlie has done not a single one,” Colford said.
If you read the rest of the story at that link, the Target in Alexandria was shut down for Michelle Obama’s visit. Meaning that not only was the store itself inconvenienced, but so were hundreds of shoppers. Plus, there’s the security expense.
All so that Michelle Obama could stage a photo-op.
Hope for change.