First lady steps out, quietly does some shopping at Target
September 30th, 2011
11:00 AM ET
3 years ago

First lady steps out, quietly does some shopping at Target

Washington (CNN) - She has the White House staff at her disposal, but that didn't stop first lady Michelle Obama from making a Target run in a Virginia suburb of Washington Thursday.

Dressed casually in a gray Nike hat, loose floral blouse, black pants and red flats, the first lady was seen pushing a cart and carrying several bags from the mega-retailer at a Target in Alexandria, Virginia. The store is about a 15-minute drive from the White House. A photographer from The Associated Press snapped a photograph of Obama exiting the store.

White House officials declined to provide any details of Thursday's outing, saying to protect her privacy they don't release information about the first lady's personal activities.

They did, however, say trips like these are not uncommon.

"It is not uncommon for the First Lady to slip out to run an errand, eat at a local restaurant or otherwise enjoy the city outside the White House gates," Kristina Schake, Michelle Obama's communications director, said in a statement.

In an interview with CNN, the manager of the Target where Obama shopped said the first lady went unrecognized while she was in the store.

"People did not approach her, she was very incognito," Maria Panagopulof said. "We didn't realize truly what was happening until she had almost left. The cashier recognized her, but she was very unassuming."

Panagopulof said the store received no advance of the first lady's trip.

"We did not have advance notice; it was as big a surprise to us as it was to everyone else," she said.

She continued, "In hindsight, there was a sweep, but it was not obvious to us beforehand. When she left we thought 'Oh, that's what that was!'"

In May, Michelle Obama told Oprah Winfey that casual shopping trips were one of the things she missed from her life before the White House.

"I think one of the greatest sacrifices for people like us - who like being with people - is that it's the bubble," Obama said. "We talked about it. I can't go to Target and walk around. I guess I could but it would mess up everyone else's shopping experience."

–CNN's Alex Mooney and Leslie Bentz contributed to this report.


Filed under: Michelle Obama
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Zebulon Pi

    As my 16 year old son would say... Haters Gonna Hate.

    This woman could cure cancer and you'd STILL hate her, because that's what you do. Why come to these forums to "discuss" when there's no "discussion", it's just everybody yelling hate?

    September 30, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. Was Buf., Now Was.

    Haha– this is our target, and locals call it the "DC Target" because so many Washingtonians come over (in lieu of going to the one actually in DC... parking at this one is free). Guess she's just another one of the crowd.

    Hoping this doesn't mean my wife will be making extra trips there, though... my wallet is beginning to hurt preemptively.

    September 30, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    For all you folks complaining about the expenses attributed to presidential wives and children, save yourselves a bit of taxpayer dollars and start endorsing candidates who are single. Otherwise, get over yourselves.

    September 30, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    First Lady, Michelle Obama = Class Act. The lady can do the everyday thingy and the First Lady White House Evening Dinner. She is "TOP"S" in my book. This is a lady that can be comfortable at Target and Tiffiny's.

    September 30, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. Karen

    Mindie from India

    Here's the difference, Karen dear – Bush told everybody to GO SHOPPING and EVERYONE SHOULD BUY A HOUSE – get over yourselves. This is the best first Lady this Country has had in a long LONG time
    **************************************************************************************
    Well, Mindie from India, dear. At least under the Bush administration we could afford to "GO SHOPPING" and "BUY A HOUSE", but under this administration many of us have lost our jobs and can't even afford to pay our bills, go on vacation (unlike the Obama's) and have been thrown out of our homes because we can no longer afford them.....and for many, they can thank Democrats like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd for that.... psssst, remember it was folks like them that said everyone should live in a home, even if they can't afford the mortgage. Yes, Mindie from India, dear, we can certainly blame the Democrats for this housing/foreclosure disaster.

    "This is the best first Lady this Country has had in a long LONG time"......baaaaahahahahaha, thanks for that much needed laugh of the day!!!!!!!

    September 30, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. doyoumind

    @AECSRet – Target is NOT a French company, and they do support the military. Amazing that you have access to a computer, yet can't get your facts in order before posting.

    Wow... just wow.

    Google search Target snopes and you'll see just how wrong you are.

    September 30, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Luke

    You'd figure that the First Lady would have some kind of 'Target' lackey.

    September 30, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. NonBeliever

    Whatever she bought at Target, I'm sure she threw it away as soon as the photographers were gone. No way that vulgar new-money diva would actually USE something that came from a discount store. This is the thing that irritates me the most about BHO and his followers......they really believe that the American public is stupid enough to not see this campaign stunt for what it is. VOTE BHO OUT AND WE WON'T HAVE TO LOOK AT THE PIT BULL ANY MORE!!!!!!!

    September 30, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. Katherine

    When did this happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i wanna no

    September 30, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. Oregon calling

    She is simply adorable :-)

    September 30, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. Super Gus

    How is this news? I'm afraid if I say what I feel, I'd be hitting below the belt. Which is very easy considering how high Mrs. Obama wears them. Why does she wear a belt for a bra anyway? Tacky.

    September 30, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. JustMe

    Reeba, the photographer received a tip. Nobody said he/she just happened to be around.

    "...I can't go to Target and walk around. I guess I could but it would mess up everyone else's shopping experience."

    Didn't seem to mess up anyone's shopping experience this time. I mean heck they didn't even know until she was practically out the door. I love that her and Princess Katherine are such normal people that shop in such normal places.

    September 30, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. Peggy - TX

    I just love the first lady. I think she is awesome. I like to shop at Target too.

    The haters on this blogs are pathetic losers with worms in thier heart.

    September 30, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. Hmmmm

    Happy that she's normal in that sense.

    Not so happy that she's risking her life, and our tax dollers to save her, via this adventure.

    Also not happy that she spent so much $ on her little escapade in Italy, on the taxpayers dime.

    September 30, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. FactCheck

    The Teabaggers: crying for spending reductions but at the same time screaming for tax cuts for the rich. Brain-washed dolts at best. At least Ron Paul is consistent in his ideology.

    September 30, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. YOU Decide 2012: A bankrupt socialist welfare country or a thriving capitalist super power

    She must have been buying her winter vacation clothes. I'm sur eshe must 3-4 vacations planned this winter as these will be the last winter vacations she can take on the tax payers dime.

    September 30, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. Rapids

    Who cares!

    September 30, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. FactCheck

    many of us have lost our jobs and can't even afford to pay our bills, go on vacation (unlike the Obama's) and have been thrown out of our homes because we can no longer afford them
    ---

    Well gee... do you think that had anything to do with the fact that you dingbats were buying houses that you couldn't afford in the first place? So long as the housing Ponzi scheme was in effect, you were happy to ride that gravy train, right? Those of us who live within our means are doing just fine, thank you.

    September 30, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. JustMe

    NonBeliever, go back to your Tea Party.

    September 30, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. bill

    An A.P. photographer just happened to be there? Staged photo op.

    September 30, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  21. Brad

    People......get a grip....it was a Target shopping run.....not a re-parting of the Red Sea.....oh, and tell me again how this is criteria for the re-election of a president????

    September 30, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  22. Anne

    to AECSRet:

    Where the he!! did you get that Target is French, it is 100% purely American!!! I hope it's not because some people pronounce it "tar j" that you thought it was french because that would just show what a complete moron you are

    September 30, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. UsaGod help us

    Seriously is this suppose to be front page news? What is next first lady use public toilet.. Obama 2012

    September 30, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. Sandram

    Who cares?

    September 30, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  25. Malory Archer

    Well, well, well – it appears that only negative comments bashing the FLOTUS and dems in general are passing the moderators' discretion. How does this work for you CNN: Dems baaaaaaaaaaad/repugs gooooooooooood?

    September 30, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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