Sunday, July 5, 2009

Kremlin, Vatican & Ants Ahead for Obamas

The Kremlin from the air that the First Family will see when arriving in Moscow and if, the Obama family stays at the Ritz a great view of Moscow's Red Square.
Like their personal shadows, the White House and all its security gear, protocol and communication equipment travels with the first family wherever they go. Onsite secret service along with the one chosen as food taster and an advance team travel with the president and family members. Hotels are secured from above and below and embassies in the destination nations go on high alert. Historically, the president is most often alone on these missions. On momentous occasions and commemorative events, the First Lady and the First Family travels along. Former First Daughters Barbara & Jenna Bush expressed deep regret that they did not travel with the president often until his last year in office.

Arriving in Korea with former first lady Laura Bush, is president Bush and Jenna Bush on one of her rare official international trips.
Malia & Sasha Obama are not of an age where they are free to chart their own course or itinerary and the East Wing is putting final prep on their schedules. The littlest Obamas, minus puppy Bo, will be on for another international frenzy as they touchdown with their parents on Air Force One and alight first in the Russian capital of Moscow, on to Italy and the ravages of the earthquake zone in L'Aquila and to Africa for a final stop in Ghana. A week that will be historic for the adults as well as the children, for the next week, as youngsters have not traveled with a president on official business in the 21st century for an extended period. It will be viscerally different after viewing their first fireworks display at the White House on Malia's and the nation's birthday. Even the First Grandma is along for the ride on this official trip.

On September 5, 1995, Hillary Clinton traveled alone to China to deliver a speech at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing on women's rights and abuses that thrilled the world and the and horrified the Chinese communist hosts. Chelsea Clinton did not attend this event but did travel with her parents. Laura Bush went to Afghanistan alone to promote projects about and for women right against the crushing force of Taliban misogynistic fundamentalism.

In her first six months as first lady, Michelle Obama has not traveled alone of official business internationally. Her private trip with her daughters took her to the Élysée Palace to lunch with the famed fashionably French Sarkozy First Family to the English gardens of Number 10 Downing Street with Sarah Brown and to meet the head of state in England, her new British buddy, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The only place Mrs. Obama had been prior as first lady was her stay at ambassadorial residence of Winfield House where she stayed for the Obamas official visit to England. I am all for a side trip for the kids to go to one of, if not the most beautiful museum in the world, the State Hermitage built by Catherine the Great in St. Petersburg. (Hillary Clinton speaking in Beijing, China where there state run media had orders to not cover her speech, lest it give people ideas.)
First family on the Fourth on the South Portico welcoming military families as their last function before leaving for a week of travel. Sasha has a lot on her mind.
Friday, the Sistine Chapel and a papal visit await President Obama and the first lady at the Vatican. The first lady will be as selective for her attire with the Holy See, Pope Benedict as she was with the Queen for her first meeting with her majesty. Rome is hot this time of year and has so many things for the First Daughters to see, the catacombs, the Coliseum, and the Spanish Steps with scrumptious gelato everywhere, which may be difficult for them to eat without security permission. Rome presents many choices for the Obama girls and its not too far for a day trip to Pompeii. It is a time of maximum exposure to the continent and this will be their second trip to Europe in less than a month.

Ghana is a thriving nation in Africa. Three years ago, while their father was a newly minted senator, the girls and their mother went to Kenya. It had none of the additional staff and level of security now present. Any activities the girls now partake of ill be worldwide news monitored by the East Wing and the communication shop. The final stop on this official odyssey will be to the west coast of Africa to Accra, the capital of Ghana. On Saturday, Malia & Sasha should get a good giggle from the fact the name mean ants, but watch the industrious women in awe who can carry a variety of goods balanced on their heads for great distances. (The posters already line the streets of the Capital of Ghana in advance of his address to the Ghanaian parliament on Saturday Photo courtesy VOA)

Interesting just the president is mentioned on the US Embassy in Ghana purple poster though the First lady, Michelle Obama will have an impact on Ghana as well. It will be interesting to hear the East Wing describe Mrs. O's official activities on these state visits. These visits are for the history books and we shall have a first draft of history.


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