Spain Trip: Todd Senses 'Something More' Happening Behind Scenes With Michelle O

"Uncomfortable" was the word of the day at Morning Joe when it came to discussing Michelle Obama's decision to go on a luxurious Spanish vacation in the midst of a recession—and to miss celebrating her husband's birthday with him to boot.

Chuck Todd didn't go into details, but NBC's clearly ill-at-ease political director suggested: that this was a "private decision" by the First Lady; that it wouldn't have made any difference what Pres. Obama's political advisors would have said; and that "you get the sense here that there was something more to this" than pure politics.

Joe Scarborough reinforced Todd's message: "this is part of a bigger narrative, isn't it, about Michelle Obama?"

In contrast, Mark Halperin seemed eager to get off the touchy topic.  When Scarborough asked him about it, Halperin parried with a question to Todd about the positive cards the White House has to play.

This NewsBuster is in no position to speculate as to what that "bigger narrative" might be, or what that "something more" is.  But surely a story worth following . . .

Note: Joe cited yesterday's column by Maureen Dowd, which in the course of criticizing Mrs. Obama pointed out that the president's birthday wasn't the first important occasion the First Lady missed:

When the BP oil spill stained the White House, making the president seem so impotent that he had to make his first national address from the Oval Office, the first lady was playing with her mother and daughters in Los Angeles, staying at the Beverly Wilshire. She was taking in a Lakers game the night of his address.

When the BP oil spill stained the White House, making the president seem so impotent that he had to make his first national address from the Oval Office, the first lady was playing with her mother and daughters in Los Angeles, staying at the Beverly Wilshire. She was taking in a Lakers game the night of his address. 

Note Dos: Morning Joe introduced the segment with a Late Night clip of Jimmy Fallon quipping that in light of Michelle's Spanish extravagance, her new Secret Service code name is "Kanye." Ouch.

Note Tres: In my item about Pres. Obama's appearance on The View, I noted that the prez had taken a gratuitous swipe at the First Lady, claiming she wasn't interested in news shows.

Note Quatro:  I understand that the First Couple has to deal with scheduling pressures far outside the normal realm.  Even so, as I observed to a friend yesterday: odds my mother would have gone on a vacation without my late father and missed his birthday = precisely 0 in 1,000 trillion.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.