What Message Does Michelle Obama's Spanish Spending Spree Send to Struggling Americans?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 9, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The nation continues to struggle with a 9.5 percent unemployment rate, but I don't think Michelle Obama is feeling your pain. No, when Americans received the latest economic news, the first lady was living it up on the southern coast of Spain.

Michelle and her closest friends may have traveled on their own dime, but it is you the taxpayer who is paying for the travel and lodging of approximately 70 Secret Service agents who tagged along.

Now here are details of the trip. Now the first lady and her group stayed at a hotel that according to the New York Daily News cost up to $2,500 a night. The trip cost you, the taxpayer, approximately, $75,000 a day.

And like an everyday Joe, she had a Spanish beach closed off so that she and her entourage could enjoy a private swim.

Now the first lady returned home yesterday, and I'm sure she's revived and well rested. But what sort of message does this over-the-top vacation send to the American people, many of whom are still looking for work?

Joining me now with reaction is the author of the number New York Times best seller, "Culture of Corruption," which by the way as of today is out in paperback. Michelle Malkin is here.

Welcome. We love to see you in studio.


HANNITY: My gosh --

MALKIN: Live and in person.

HANNITY: Live -- I'm a real person, if you believe it -- all right. So your first reaction to this trip?

MALKIN: Well, I've heard the term tone-deaf used. And I would be a little bit more blunt. I think this was cold stoned stupid. The timing couldn't have been worse. The optics couldn't have been worse.

There she is in her one shoulder haute couture, clumping around the beach side in her designer shoes. And I think they've compounded the problem. It's even worse now because they've come back and now we've got this new rationalization and spin from the White House. They said it to the Chicago Tribune. And they said well, she was actually consoling a friend of hers. And I've actually looked into this friend that apparently she just felt compelled to drag to Spain.

Her name is Anita Blanchard and she is wife of Marty Nesbit. Marty Nesbit is a big Chicago crony of this team Obama and the White House, he heads the Chicago Housing Authority. And they gallivanted around with this couple to places like Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. And Marty Nesbit was involved with the failed Olympics bid.

So these are Chicago cronies that we are paying for to globe trot at a time when so many people -- as you mentioned -- are feeling the pain. Obviously Michelle Obama is not in touch with.

HANNITY: Well, this is after the Maine vacation prior to the Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard. I think it's Nantucket, right?


HANNITY: All right, vacation. After the Gulf Coast vacation. Multiple golf trips. All of this luxury and concerts and Broadway shows at the White House.

Look, I don't want to be overly harsh here. I think a first family -- it's a stressful job. They are entitled to a vacation.

I honestly don't remember this number of trips, and I don't remember this kind of luxury when the nation is facing -- according to her husband -- the worst economic situation since the Great Depression.

MALKIN: Yes. That's exactly right. And there's another spin on the rationalization for this trip, which I find a little bit obnoxious. And it's something that they've invoked to try and protect Michelle Obama and give her the bubble of immunity. And it's the idea that Robert Gibbs gave the other day, that she's a private citizen, quote-unquote.

Well, you can't be a private citizen on the public dime.

HANNITY: She's at the beach. Yes.

MALKIN: Yes. On the beaches of Spain where of course she did have --

HANNITY: At a private beach.

MALKIN: Right. Where she did have an official role and she met with the king and queen and dine with them. But this is somebody who has conscientiously and deliberately inserted herself into public life from the time she was in Chicago and most recently with the Obamacare debate and then pushing the Child Nutrition Bill.

This is hardly a private citizen.

HANNITY: I never got over "America is a downright mean country" myself.

All right. Here's the conspiracy side of Sean Hannity. And maybe I'm nuts here. Because her husband was hanging out in Chicago all this time. And I'm thinking, all right, well, nobody is paying any attention, do we know where he went? We know he played golf, we know he had multiple birthday parties. Was this a distraction from what he was doing? They had to know this was going to create an uproar.

MALKIN: Yes. Yes, absolutely. And I think it all comes back to Chicago. This has been the theme that I've been talking about with "Culture of Corruption." And of course Anita Blanchard also happens to be -- this is the woman that she traveled with to Spain -- a doctor at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

I mean there are plenty of other questions in the public sphere that we ought to be hammering Michelle Obama about. Not just about her lobbying and her experience at the University of Chicago Medical Center, but also her lobbying for all of these legislation, expanded power grabs in government.

How she's serving the SEIU agenda and also her meddling in things like the Americorp program where I'm talking about whistleblowers in "Culture of Corruption," and this administration has been very hard in stifling the dissent of people who criticize them. And she perhaps had a role in that as well.

HANNITY: You know, I guess this is a "let them eat cake" moment?


HANNITY: Is that what this is?

MALKIN: No question about it. And I'm like, if that cake was paid for the taxpayers we have every right to criticize her, stuffing her face in front of the American people.

HANNITY: Oh my goodness. Look, I just want them -- I'm sort of torn here. The follow the money with me. I'm figuring that if they're on vacation,  if Congress is on vacation, they're not spending our money and even if they're taking junkets, we're probably going to be -- it's going to be a lot cheaper in the long run because they're not raising our taxes, spending our money and we're probably in better shape.

MALKIN: Yes. If only they would take a more permanent recess from this thing. But of course now we've got Nancy Pelosi calling the House back in session to do what? Another $26 billion union payoff.

HANNITY: Well, that's what it's going to be.

All right. So you have dealt with the "Culture of Corruption." Your book is phenomenal. And now we've got, heading into this midterm election, we've got Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters, they have not drained the swamp.

How big an issue do you think this is going to be in the campaign?

MALKIN: I think it's going to be a central issue. And I said in the foreword to the new paperback edition of "Culture of Corruption," that 2010 will be the anti-corruption referendum. People will have -- finally have the opportunity to exercise their dissatisfaction at the ballot box. And I've said the ballot box is the ultimate sanitizer.

HANNITY: Do you think -- do you think it played that pivotal a role? I mean a lot of people are making predictions. I don't want people to get complacent or overconfident. I don't -- you know, you count the votes after they are in.

Do you think this is a banner year? Do you think this is a wave election? Do you think this is, you know, 60 seats, something we haven't seen in -- since 1994?

MALKIN: Yes. Well, you know, my MO when it comes to politics has always been to manage expectations. So, you know, I don't like it when people put --

HANNITY: I agree with you.

MALKIN: Put a number out there. You do have to manage expectations. You have to make sure people don't get complacent like you said. And I think --

HANNITY: But look at Missouri. They are not complacent.

MALKIN: Yes. No, they are not. And they sent a clear message on that referendum. And I think that corruption is a thread that runs through all of this. Whether it's undermining transparency, undermining the will of the people. Whether it's immigration, national security, health care.


MALKIN: And -- and I think we will reap some dividends.

HANNITY: And then we go back to the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase. And I think -- I don't think they realized at that point when they had to buy the votes to pass health care that I think was a line that they crossed with -- the American people didn't want that bill. Now they want it rescinded.


HANNITY: I think that will be a defining issue in the campaign.

MALKIN: No question about it. And I think the common thing in your coverage and my coverage over the past couple of years has also been making this -- our readers and viewers understand the Grand Canyon-size gap between the rhetoric and reality of this corrupt administration.

HANNITY: You're such a hard interview. You come with me like very little to say. It's amazing.

Michelle, good to see you in studio. Thanks for being here.

MALKIN: Thank you. You too, Sean. Take care.

Content and Programming Copyright 2010 Fox News Network, Inc. Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.