Michelle Obama's Controversial Trip to Spain

First Lady Michelle Obama walks around Marbella's city center, southern Spain, on Aug. 4, 2010. Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images

First lady Michelle Obama is in Spain in the middle of a five-day vacation at a luxury resort with her daughter Sasha. Critics, though, say with so many Americans struggling economically, she's setting a very bad example.

Obama Criticized as "Modern-Day Marie Antoinette"
Pictures: Michelle Obama in Spain
Pictures: The Spanish Royal Family

On "The Early Show" republican strategist Leslie Sanchez, the author of "You've Come a Long Way, Maybe," and democratic strategist Tonya Acker, discussed why this has become an issue for the first lady and how it will affect public perception of the Obama administration.

Sanchez said what matters is the way Michelle Obama's trip looks to the American people.

"The bottom line answer is optics matter," she told "Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill. "First ladies wield a tremendous amount of influence behind the scenes and they're the perception of the administration. At a time when we're seeing 9.6 percent unemployment, 70,000 jobs lost this month, people are losing their homes, and it doesn't convey that she senses the plight of working families. This is more of a narrative that many of his critics push that they're an elitist administration, thumbing their nose at working families."

So did the Obamas miss how the public would view Michelle's trip?

Acker said, "There's no question but that every political family want to avoid the inopportune photo-op and that's what we have here. I also think Americans are a little more sophisticated than we may now be giving them credit for. Mrs. Obama's husband is leading an administration that just fought for jobless benefits. So frankly, at the end of the day, Americans who are struggling really care more about whether or not jobless benefits are going to be extended or whether or not their banks are going to continue to gouge them rather than whether the first lady went to the beach."
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