In the past it's been almost a tradition for America's first ladies to catch flack from their husbands' political opponents over the size of their staffs, and Michelle Obama certainly hasn't been exempt from that. Criticism of her "massive" staff has popped up on email chains, blogs, and chat rooms. But what are the facts regarding how many people are under her employ, and how does the size of her staff compare to that of past first ladies?
On July 1st of this year, the Obama White House posted the Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff on its official blog. A minor uproar over the first lady's staff size ensued. One critic atCanadianFreePress.com accused the president's wife of employing an "unprecedented number of staffers" for someone who "doesn’t perform any official duties," while a widely circulated chain email reported that "there has never been anyone in the White House at any time that has created such an army of staffers whose sole duties are the facilitation of the First Lady’s social life." Many other critics of the Obama administration expressed similar sentiments.