- On Christmas Vacation In Hawaii
- Q Does First Lady Michelle Obama have an "unprecedented"
number of staffers?
- A A spokeswoman for the first lady says that Michelle
Obama currently has a staff of 24. That may indeed be the largest of any
first lady, but Hillary Clinton, with 19 staffers, and Laura Bush with
at least 18 and perhaps more, weren't far behind.
- FULL QUESTION
- Is this accurate? And how does it compare to prior first
- First Lady Requires More Than Twenty Attendants
- Recession, Depression, What, Michelle Worry?
- July 7, 2009
- Dr. Paul L. Williams
- "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.
- No, Michele Obama does not get paid to serve as the First
Lady and she doesn't perform any official duties. But this hasn't deterred
her from hiring an unprecedented number of staffers to cater to her every
whim and to satisfy her every request in the midst of the Great Recession.
Just think Mary Lincoln was taken to task for purchasing china for the
White House during the Civil War. And Mamie Eisenhower had to shell out
the salary for her personal secretary.
- How things have changed! If you're one of the tens of
millions of Americans facing certain destitution, earning less than subsistence
wages stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart or serving up McDonald cheeseburgers,
prepare to scream and then come to realize that the benefit package for
these servants of Miz Michelle are the same as members of the national
security and defense departments and the bill for these assorted lackeys
is paid by John Q. Public:
- 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. 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. Reinstein, Joseph B. (Deputy Director and Deputy
- 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. 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. Tubman, Samantha (Deputy Associate Director, Social
- 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. Bookey, Natalie (Staff Assistant)
- 22. Jackson, Deilia A. (Deputy Associate Director of
Correspondence for the First Lady)
- There has never been anyone in the White House at any
time that has created such an army of staffers whose sole duties are the
facilitation of the First Lady's social life. One wonders why she needs
so much help, at taxpayer expense, when even Hillary, only had three; Jackie
Kennedy one; Laura Bush one; and prior to Mamie Eisenhower social help
came from the President's own pocket.
- Note: This does not include makeup artist Ingrid Grimes-Miles,
49, and "First Hairstylist" Johnny Wright, 31, both of whom travelled
aboard Air Force One to Europe.
- FULL ANSWER:
- The White House published the 2009 Annual Report to Congress
on White House Staff on its official blog on July 1, listing the title
and salary of many White House office employees. A few days later, a fuss
began online over the number of people who are assigned to work for the
Office of First Lady and how much they earn per year.
- A blog post from Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet
on July 6 put the spotlight on "What Michelle Obama's Staffers Earn."
The staff ofTheLastCrusade.org, a Web site that describes itself as a place
"where you can engage in the life and death struggle against the forces
of Islam, apostasy, moral complacency, cultural relativity, and the New
World Order," then took the information and posted a piece claiming
that the first lady had hired an "unprecedented number of staffers"
to "cater to her every whim and to satisfy her every request in the
midst of the Great Recession." That piece was also posted on the conservative
Web site CanadaFreePress.com under the byline of Dr. Paul L. Williams,
who runs TheLastCrusade.org. That post has become part of a chain e-mail
that some of our readers have passed on to us, and the e-mail expands upon
Williams' post, falsely claiming that some recent first ladies have had
only one or three staffers.
- How Many?
- According to the 2009 White House report to Congress,
there are 16 people with a title specifically indicating they work for
Michelle Obama's office. In other words, there are 16 people with "first
lady" somewhere in their title, such as Jocelyn Frye, deputy assistant
to the president and director of policy and projects for the first lady.
- The list reported by Sweet and The Last Crusade, however,
includes six other 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, special assistant to the president and White House social secretary,
and Natalie Bookey, staff assistant.
- We contacted Katie McCormick Lelyveld, Michelle Obama's
press secretary, to check the list's accuracy. Lelyveld told us in an e-mail
that the first lady's current staff size is actually 24, not 22, as the
chain e-mail claims. Lelyveld couldn't provide a list of the staffers at
- First Ladies Past
- The chain e-mail's author claims that "[t]here has
never been anyone in the White House at any time that has created such
an army of staffers whose sole duties are the facilitation of the First
Lady's social life." The author claims that "even Hillary, only
had three; Jackie Kennedy one; Laura Bush one." But the counts for
those first ladies are incorrect and they're way off.
- Stephen Plotkin, reference archivist for the John F.
Kennedy Presidential Library, told us in an e-mail that Jacqueline Kennedy's
office was "headed" by one person, but said that there were "at
least 9 people working for Mrs. Kennedy, with the promise of a great many
more" during her time at the White House.
- Kim Coryat, an archives technician at the William J.
Clinton Presidential Library, told us it can be difficult to nail down
a precise count of staff considering "White House staffing for all
offices ebbs and flows with time." But she said in an e-mail that
White House telephone directory records indicate that Hillary Clinton had
at least a staff of 13 as of October 1993; 18 as of April 1997; and 19
as of March 2000.
- Lelyveld said that Michelle Obama's staff was actually
no different than that of her predecessor, Laura Bush. "[W]e have
exactly the same staff number as Mrs. Bush and our office organization
reflects a similar staffing model, so insinuations otherwise are wrong,"
she said. Lelyveld said that the White House's "personnel records
indicate" that there were 24 staffers for Laura Bush at some point.
We were able to verify at least 18 staffers for Laura Bush, as of June
30, 2008, via the 2008 White House staff list published in The Washington
Post's White House Watch column. Sixteen people were specifically referred
to as a "first lady" staffer, and Amy Zantzinger and Dorothy
Thornton served as White House social secretary and deputy social secretary,
respectively. It's possible that someone with the title of "staff
assistant" was assigned to the Office of First Lady as well, as is
the case with Michelle Obama's staff.
- The combined annual salaries for the 22 staffers we can
specifically identify as working for Michelle Obama come to $1.6 million.
For the 18 we could identify as working for Laura Bush in 2008, the total
is $1.4 million.
- Dr. Myra Gutin, a professor of communications at Rider
University and a first ladies historian, says that the first lady's role
has certainly "grown and evolved" since the 1960s, but generally
speaking, the first lady's "staff numbers about 14-16." Gutin
told us she recalled "some first ladies have had staffs of more than
- D'Angelo Gore
- Executive Office of the President. "Annual Report
on White House Staff to Congress." WhiteHouse.gov. 1 Jul 2009, accessed
30 Jul 2009.
- Sweet, Lynn. "What Michelle Obama's Staffers Earn."
PoliticsDaily.com. 6 Jul 2009, accessed 30 Jul 2009.
- Sweet, Lynn. "More Michelle Obama staff appointments."
SunTimes.com. 16 Jan 2009, accessed 30 Jul 2009.
- "First Lady Requires More than 20 Attendants."
TheLastCrusade.org. 6 Jul 2009, accessed 30 Jul 2009.
- Froomkin, Dan. "2008 White House Office Staff List."
Washington Post White House Watch Column. 24 Jul 2008, accessed 30 Jul
- Gutin, Myra. E-mail sent to FactCheck.org. 30 Jul 2009.
- Plotkin, Stephen. E-mail sent to FactCheck.org. 31 Jul
- Coryat, Kim. E-mail sent to FactCheck.org. 31 Jul 2009.
- Posted by DAngelo Gore on August 5, 2009.
- Tags: chain e-mail, First Lady, Michelle Obama
- Categories: Ask FactCheck
- Mary Sparrowdancer
- This is nothing but Marxist Communism being put to best
use by elitists using Marx's ideas to make themselves more elite and
wealthy. Marx would be turning in his grave if he knew these bastards
were using his ideas to create a worse "class distinction" between pampered
elite versus lowly workers (the rest of us). The few elite are using
his plans to their best interests. It was not meant to be this way. But
regardless, we should not EVER have Communists in the white house because
no matter what, they cannot uphold the Constitution. They are opposed
to it. Vote them out.