There’s been an unprecedented blizzard of action surrounding Malia Obama’s Mexico vacation. When Agence France Press posted on it the story took off, with Huffington Post, Politico and many other new-media outlets doing reports. Then parts of the story started disappearing across the web. Now values snob Rick Santorum has chimed in. He just couldn’t help himself.

This is nothing new. Every time First Lady Michelle Obama dares to take a holiday the gossip pit vipers come out to opine on how the First Lady shouldn’t dare take time off, let alone to attractive destinations. People evidently think her duty is to drop into Detroit and skip glamorous locales she’d just as likely visit as a private citizen.

Setting an example as first lady or first daughters shouldn’t include what you choose to do in private. Hey, but I’m kind of funny about public servants and the importance of time off. Everybody needs it, especially the First Family, but particularly kids caught in their parents’ ambitions.

As you look across the web you likely have also seen pictures of Malia and Sasha Obama in Obama 2012 reelect ads. They’ve taken a prominent place in ads talking about helping Pres. Obama stand up for families. You can see a very small photo of this ad in the HuffPost screen capture (via Buzzfeed) below.

Needless to say, showing an attractive family portrait is sound political strategy. That doesn’t make them fair game in public, at least not in the U.S.

The HuffPost story link on Malia’s Mexico spring break no longer works.


Rick Santorum felt compelled to jump into the fray through the Glenn Beck show (audio at the link).

“What I would say is that the president’s actions should reflect what his administration is saying,” Santorum told Beck. “If the administration is saying that it’s not safe to have people down there, then just because you can send 25 Secret Service agents doesn’t mean you should do it. You should set an example. I think that”˜s what president’s do. They set an example. And when the government is saying this is not safe, then you don’t set the example by sending your kids down there.”

He also noted that he wasn”˜t being critical of the president’s daughter, but rather referencing the president’s “higher duty.”

The State Department’s travel advisory on Mexico should chill anyone wanting to travel to Mexico. A short excerpt reads as follows:

Effective July 15, 2010, the U.S. Mission in Mexico imposed restrictions on U.S. government employees’ travel. U.S. government employees and their families are not permitted to drive for personal reasons from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior of Mexico or Central America. Personal travel by vehicle is permitted between Hermosillo and Nogales but is restricted to daylight hours and the Highway 15 toll road (cuota).

U.S. government personnel and their families are prohibited from personal travel to all areas described as “defer non-essential travel” and when travel for official purposes is essential it is conducted with extensive security precautions. USG personnel and their families are allowed to travel for personal reasons to the areas where no advisory is in effect or where the advisory is to exercise caution.

Politico’s Dylan Byers was given confirmation that the White House had requested news agencies scrub the story. Kristina Schake, Communications Director to the First Lady offered this statement:

From the beginning of the administration, the White House has asked news outlets not to report on or photograph the Obama children when they are not with their parents and there is no vital news interest. We have reminded outlets of this request in order to protect the privacy and security of these girls.

I’m not a parent and don’t play one when writing either.

However, what makes Rick Santorum’s criticism of Pres. Obama galling is that he doesn’t even care whether he has correct information before offering judgment.

There is no travel warning where Malia Obama has been reported on spring break.

From the State Dept. Mexico travel warning page, which Glenn Beck’s website also noted:

Oaxaca: Oaxaca, Huatulco and Puerto Escondido are the major cities/travel destinations in Oaxaca -see map (PDF, 286 kb) to identify their exact locations: No warning is in effect.

The strongest warning about Oaxaca comes from an official Mexico travel site and focuses on political protests, urging foreigners not to involve themselves, but also the dangers of swimming along the Oaxaca coastal area.

Oaxaca (coastal): There have been a number of drownings along the beaches of the southern coast of Oaxaca, namely Zipolite Beach. Professional lifeguard training has contributed to a drop in fatalities, but swimmers are advised that currents can quickly become treacherous, even for accomplished swimmers.

A 7.4 earthquake hit the region yesterday, with the White House releasing a statement that Malia Obama is safe.

The comments on many pages revolve around the cost of 25 Secret Service agents to protect Malia Obama, as well as the usual comparison conversation on the Bush daughters.

Ron Paul has weighed in on the use of Secret Service calling it “welfare.” We got it, white man.

However, the best Secret Service story comes from Jezebel on the code names chosen by Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. It’s positively phallic, but then it would be. It’s about Republicans.