Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) offered image advice for the first family on a local Iowa radio show Wednesday, criticizing first daughters Sasha and Malia Obama's recent spring break vacation to the Bahamas during the federal budget belt-tightening of sequestration.
"You’re on point and on the mark all the way through," King told a caller named Carla after she said she found the Obama girls' vacation "really hard to stomach" and "not acceptable."
Accusations about the Obamas' lavish lifestyle have become common from certain members of the GOP. During her recent address at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) riled the crowd with allegations that American taxpayers were footing the bill for such luxuries as a dog walker for the first family's dog, Bo. The charge was later revealed to be unfounded and led to an awkward encounter for Bachmann with a CNN reporter.
Still, Bachmann's commentary on the privileges of the White House underscores an attempt by conservatives, echoed by King on Wednesday, to work the debate on federal spending cuts to their political advantage.
"He needs to show some austerity himself," King said of Obama. He went on to remind listeners that the president "sent the daughters to spring break in Mexico a year ago. That was at our expense, too."
"That is the wrong image to be coming out of the White House," King added.
Presidents have traditionally paid for the personal expenses of family vacations, while taxpayers fund security and staffing. In a column published Wednesday in Salon, Joan Walsh chided what she called the myopic Republican assault, saying the GOP is "[freaking] out over things that are either exactly the same or directly comparable to what every American president and his family have done."