Recession, Depression, What, Michelle Worry? Mrs. Obama Demands Small Army of Attendants


By —— Bio and Archives August 17, 2009

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image“In my own life, in my own small way, I have tried to give back to this country that has given me so much,” she said. “See, that’s why I left a job at a big law firm for a career in public service,”— Michelle Obama.

We were wrong.

Michelle Obama, as we reported on July 7, is not served by twenty-two attendants who stand by to cater to her every whim.

She is served by twenty-six attendants, including a hair dresser and make-up artist.

The annual cost to taxpayers for such unprecedented attention is approximately $1,750,000 without taking into account the expense of the lavish benefit packages afforded to every attendant.

Little did American voters realize the call for “change”  would result in the establishment of an Obama oligarchy.

The discovery of the additional attendants was made by D’Angelo Gore of factcheck.org and by calls to Katie McCormick Lelyyeld, Michelle Obama’s press secretary.

Mr. Gore launched his investigation of the First Lady’s staff in the wake of an article that appeared on and Canada Free Press on July 7.

The article, which became a chain letter viewed by millions of Americans, reported that Michelle Obama requires more than twenty attendants - - more than any First Lady in U.S. History. It provided the following list of White House staff members assigned to the First Lady:

  1. $172,2000 - Sher, Susan (Chief Of Staff)
  2. $140,000 - Frye, Jocelyn C. (Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy And Projects For The First Lady)
  3. $113,000 - Rogers, Desiree G. (Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary)
  4. $102,000 - Johnston, Camille Y. (Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the First Lady)
  5. $102,000 - Winter, Melissa E. (Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)
  6. $90,000 - Medina, David S. (Deputy Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)
  7. $84,000 - Lelyveld, Catherine M. (Director and Press Secretary to the First Lady)
  8. $75,000 - Starkey, Frances M. (Director of Scheduling and Advance for the First Lady)
  9. $70,000 - Sanders, Trooper (Deputy Director of Policy and Projects for the First Lady)
  10. $65,000 - Burnough, Erinn J. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)
  11. $65,000 - Reinstein, Joseph B. (Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary)
  12. $62,000 - Goodman, Jennifer R. (Deputy Director of Scheduling and Events Coordinator For The First Lady)
  13. $60,000 - Fitts, Alan O. (Deputy Director of Advance and Trip Director for the First Lady)
  14. $60,000 - Lewis, Dana M. (Special Assistant and Personal Aide to the First Lady)
  15. $52,500 - Mustaphi, Semonti M. (Associate Director and Deputy Press Secretary To The First Lady)
  16. $50,000 - Jarvis, Kristen E. (Special Assistant for Scheduling and Traveling Aide To The First Lady)
  17. $45,000 - Lechtenberg, Tyler A. (Associate Director of Correspondence For The First Lady)
  18. $45,000 - Tubman, Samantha (Deputy Associate Director, Social Office)
  19. $40,000 - Boswell, Joseph J. (Executive Assistant to the Chief Of Staff to the First Lady)
  20. $36,000 - Armbruster, Sally M. (Staff Assistant to the Social Secretary)
  21. $36,000 - Bookey, Natalie (Staff Assistant)
  22. $36,000 - Jackson, Deilia A. (Deputy Associate Director of Correspondence for the First Lady)

Readers throughout the country expressed outrage that Mrs. Obama would hire an unprecedented number of staffers in the midst of the Great Recession.

Sample comments from the hundreds of letters that poured into Canada Free Press are as follows:

Alan from Utah:

”The sad part is that after billions spent “stimulating” the economy, the list of new staffers for the wife of our pretend president represents the only new jobs that have been created.  We’re screwed.”


Laurie from Texas:

”....and not a one of those attendants can help her find something decent to wear…pathetic waste of taxpayer money…..”


Terry from Colorado:

”This is from the family that supports a government run health care system. If they can’t control the spending inside the White House, how can we believe they can save money elsewhere?”

Lanette from California:

”This is OBAMANABLY!!!!  I’ve been laid off….wonder if she will hire me?”

Bobby from Shanksville:

”I didn’t see anyone listed who wipes her ####.”

Lyle from Ilinois:

”This is a crime. I am sure not one of those aides comes close to earning what they are paid. How could they? What is there for them to do? I can’t believe Michelle will end up being a great first lady regardless how many aides she has. How will she ever survive at the end of his four-year term when she has to go back to being a civilian again. No way will the government pay for all these lackies for a civilian, no matter how hard she may try to make it happen. I recall a high school English teacher saying “like begets like” and it sure shows up with the Obama couple. They’re both in it for as much as they can get for themselves.”

Michelle from Michigan:

How can my nephew, who has been out of work for almost a year, get a job on Michelle’s staff? The pay is better than anything available here and he is colleged educated.

Betty from Pennsylvania:

My husband and I have worked hard all our lives. We are people of integrity. And yet when I read of spending like this my blood boils. How dare she use my hard-earned money like this. How dare she take advantage of her position. She did not earn her position because of who she is or how hard she has worked. I don’t know how she can sleep at night. Somehow, we need to get this President out of office before we lose all our rights.


The allegations within the July 7 article seemed so outrageous that many readers questioned their accuracy.

Does Mrs. Obama have an unprecedented number of staffers in a time when 34 million Americans - - a record number - - rely on food stamps to feed their families?

The answer, as D’Angelo Gore of factcheck.org discovered, is yes.

When questioned by Mr. Gore, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, Michelle Obama’s press secretary, said that the First Lady does retain a staff of more than twenty who remain at her beck and call. But the actual number is 24, not 22, as the article reported.

Mrs. Lelyyeld failed to provide the names of the two additional attendants to Mrs. Obama. But she did confirm that six staffers who do not have “first lady” in their title but are a part of the First Lady’s office staff, such as Desiree Rogers, who bears the title “Special Assistant to the President and White House Social Secretary,” and Natalie Bookey, who is listed as a “staff assistant.”

What’s more, even a list of 24 would be incomplete since it would fail to include the names of makeup artist Ingrid Grimes-Miles, 49, and “First Hairstylist” Johnny Wright, 31, both of whom travel aboard Air Force One and provide Mrs. Obama with daily attention.

This adds up to a whopping $1,600,700.00 and the amount doesn’t include the elite benefit packages granted to the White House staff and their significant others (include same-sex partners). Nor does the figure take into account the salaries for the two additional full-time staff members mentioned by Mrs. Obama’s Press Secretary nor the full time hair-dresser and makeup artist assigned to her. A guesstimate of the total salaries for Mrs. Obama’s attendants is $1,750,00.00 plus the additional benefits.

For comparison, let’s remember that poor Bess Truman and Mamie Eisenhower had to shell out the salaries for 5 of their personal secretaries from their own pocketbooks. Stephen Plotkin, reference archivist for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, says that Jacqueline Kennedy’s office was “headed” by one person who supervised a staff of approximately nine full and part time workers (including the White House cooks and chambermaids).

Kim Coryat, an archives technician at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, says that it is difficult to nail down a precise count of staff because “White House staffing for all offices ebbs and flows with time.” But she points out that a White House telephone directory indicates that Hillary Clinton had a staff of thirteen in 1993 - - this is telling since Mrs. Clinton intended to serve as a co-executive in the Oval Office by spearheading a health care reform program.

Laura Bush was far from a fiscal conservative during her time in the White House and, like her husband, served to bloat the White House budget. A list of Mrs. Bush’s staff attendants is as follows:

  1. McBride, Anita B. assistant to the president and chief of staff to the first lady $168,000.00
  2. Harder, Cherie S. Special assistant to the president for domestic policy and director of project of the first lady $108,000.00
  3. Niemiec, Sally M. Press secretary to the First Lady $90,000.00
  4. Miller, Sonja M. Deputy chief of staff to the first lady $84,700.00
  5. Ballard, Deanna M. Director of scheduling for the First Lady $75,000.00
  6. Underwood, Carrie P. Deputy director of policy and projects for the First Lady $65,000.00
  7. Wallace, Charity N. Director of advance for the First Lady $65,000.00
  8. Marshall, Misty C. Director of correspondence for the first lady $59,700.00
  9. Etter, Marisa L. Deputy director of scheduling for the First Lady $50,000.00
  10. King, Kristin N. Deputy director of advance for the first lady $50,000.00
  11. Lineweaver, Lindsey M. Special assistant and personal aide to the first lady $47,500.00
  12. Rawson, Kimberly D. Executive assistant to the chief of staff to the First Lady $46,200.00
  13. Donoghue , Tarah C. Deputy press secretary to the First Lady $43,000.00
  14. Vogel, Campbell B. Deputy director of correspondence for the First Lady $42,500.00
  15. Block, Jonathan F. assistant press secretary to the First Lady $39,000.00
This amounts to a total of $1,083,700.00. Laura was no piker when it came to spending. But she pales in comparison with Miz Michelle, who requires eight to ten additional attendants at an extra cost to taxpayers of $700,000 and change - - the only change American taxpayers can believe in.

Dr. Paul L. Williams -- Bio and Archives |

Paul L. Williams, Ph.D., is the author of such best-selling books as The Day of Islam, The Al Qaeda Connection, Osama’s Revenge: The Next 9/11, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Crusades and The Vatican Exposed. An award-winning journalist, he is a frequent guest on such national news networks as ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR.

Older articles by Dr. Paul L. Williams

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