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. Malory Archer

    Yeah, that's what I thought.

    September 30, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. John B

    Oh grow up and stop acting like a child NonBeliever. Get a life.

    September 30, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  3. Amicus

    Nice propaganda stunt, the hat and sunglasses sooo fooled us stupid 'little people', Michelle. I like the angle of the shot that keeps the 60+ security and escorts out of the picture.

    September 30, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. The Other Michael in Houston

    Lool at the haters on here. Unbelieveable. Anyway, I lovethe First Lady. Class in it's most eloquent form. Uh by the way @ Karen, most of you could not afford your houses under the Bush Administration, the real estae industry made you believe that you could by giving away loans to people like you and others that could barely afford your $600.00 per month rent! I am sick of you tea-tards acting as if America and it's economy was perfect until 01/21/2009! If you cannot find a job, it's because you are not looking for a job. I just hired 30 people last month! That makes a total net hire of 350 people since 2009. There are jobs, it's people like you who too stupid to get after it. You'd rather sit around and collect your unemployment checks and complain about what the President is or is not doing instead of getting off your butt and doing something about it, idiot. I digress.

    September 30, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. Michelle For President

    I'm definitely supporting Obama in 2012. I hope she runs!!

    September 30, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. Steve- Illinois

    This "commoner" First Lady also happens to have 3-5x as many "assistants" as any FL ever!
    This is the same FL that got the $300,000/yr do nothing job when her husband got elected to the U.S. Senate! A job that never existed prior to her getting it, or after she resigned from it!

    Pour yourselves another gallon of Obama-aide!

    September 30, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. Socalpimp

    Why does CNN place politicians and their wives at celebrity levels? She will be shopping at Walmart and Target in 2 years!!!!

    September 30, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. Rsprings

    I wonder if she used her Target Red Card? Saves 5%. She could set an example to her husband on how to cut spending.

    September 30, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Liz the First

    The Obamas shop at target while Gingrich has a half-million dollar revolving credit account at Tiffany's. tell me again who's out of touch with average Americans?

    September 30, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. Omar

    Our first Lady is just a SUPER Amazing woman!! I love you Ms Obama

    September 30, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. bubba

    The fawning comments from the naive here are amazing. Do you believe this woman actually took off on her own and did a Target run? You gotta be kidding. She has paid assistants that do this for her. The Secret Service had to seal off the store as well as everything around it. This was a photo op, pure and simple, meant to foster the illusion that MO actually is a down to earth common person, just like all of you. Designed to prop up chances for the re-election of her husband, BO, the worst President this country has ever had. Have you seen the photos of her wearing her $42000 bracelets? Wise up 'bots'....one and done in 2012.

    September 30, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. John Searles

    I just keep thinking about Gabriel Giffords. I pray for her full recovery and return to the House and for the safety of the Obama Family daily. I smile every time that I see Michelle's photo and love her family. But God please keep them safe!

    September 30, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  13. bubba

    @ThinkAgain
    Secret Service knows how to blend in? You are completely ignorant.

    September 30, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    NonBeliever: Your crude and ignorant, to say the least. Is your preference someone like Calista Gingrich who has a $1 million line of credit at Tiffany's?

    Just because you're incapable of seeing folks who aren't like you as human, doesn't mean they aren't regular folks.

    Your ilk is what has caused all the hate and violence throughout human history.

    September 30, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  15. cecilia

    I was just about to send a post saying how great it was to hear real adults saying nice things about the First Lady
    but wouldn't you know – right there above my post was NonBeliever saying all the nasty things he could think of. You know NonBeliever your statement about new money is really old – all of the racist are now saying the same thing – you know the first black with money – running down the neighborhood and further more it is really old stuff because our grandmothers and grandfathers used the same racist language – can't you guys come up with more original hateful remarks

    September 30, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. carlos

    NonBeliever and the rest of you tearrorists....swamp or sewer dwellers, get a life and pleas, please inform yourselves as to not to appear or show your ignorance and hatred.....one example: the FLOTUS was wearing those $40,000 jewels because they were loaned to her by a designer.

    Like I have said it before: republiCONS were born with their brains between their legs and you are confirming it in this forum.

    September 30, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. Maryann

    Question for all of you who think this was a photo op:

    WHERE IS THE PHOTO????

    September 30, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  18. NVa Native

    All these self-righteous right wingers spouting hate and disrespect for our First Lady while pushing fantasy numbers and "facts" that their fox & hate radio celebrities pulled out of their butt. It's not like even addressing their lies & mis-deeds will do any good – they don't really care about the truth – they voted for Bush twice.
    All they care about is hate, fear, and the demise of the American President.

    September 30, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. JEM

    To NonBeliever:
    You consider Target a discount store?? You are obviously a teabagger and make alot more money than me.

    September 30, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    @AECS Ret: Here's the real scoop on Target; try doing a little research next time before you fall for yet another Internet rumor email:

    FALSE:The Target Corporation does not contribute to veterans' causes.

    FALSE:The Target Corporation is French-owned.

    FALSE: The Target Corporation does not contribute to the U.S. Marine Corps' 'Toys for Tots' program.

    FALSE: The Target Corporation does not allow reservists called to active duty to continue their health benefits.

    September 30, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Donkey Party

    The racist comments from you right-wingers is sickening. You don't even try to hide it anymore. Hell is going to have a population spike when you sub-humans inevitably go there.

    September 30, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. TP will be flushed after use

    So now they bash the first lady for being fiscally conservative. I know you don't believe in evolution but you don't have to try so darn hard to prove it.

    September 30, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. calvin

    As far as I know the president does get a paycheck. So wherever they shop is their business. Whether she really shopped at Targets, On Rodeo Drive, its their right. It wouldn't matter what these people do, they are just taregted by some people as Horrible. God help us ALL!!!

    September 30, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. rachelle

    all the people who said negatives things remeber she is a very very educated woman that had lots of money before he was president. look at how much they paid in taxes and then you wouldnt have these stupid comments to say. she is not snobbie cause she has money.

    September 30, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  25. ib42

    Then, NonBeliever, you can stare at P(rick) perry, close to your own mental level.

    September 30, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12