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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Obamas Not Invited to Royal Wedding?

Q: Is it true the Obamas will not be invited to Prince William’s wedding for fear Michelle will upstage Kate Middleton?
A: No. The official guest list has not been released. A British newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying the Obamas are not on the list, but that "could change."

Stimulus Saves First Lady’s Brother?

We figured that people would recognize this latest chain e-mail for the hoax that it is. It makes a ridiculously false claim about Craig Robinson, who is the head coach of Oregon State University’s men’s basketball team and First Lady Michelle Obama’s older brother. But judging from the number of times we’ve been asked about this since the beginning of March, we were wrong. The author of this bogus e-rumor must be suffering from a different kind of “March Madness”

‘Holiday Tree’ Hooey

Q: Are the Obamas doing away with the White House “Christmas” tree and banning ornaments with religious themes?
A: The traditional Christmas tree will remain, and an e-mail claim about ornaments is unsubstantiated.

Michelle Obama’s Staff

Q: Does First Lady Michelle Obama have an “unprecedented” number of staffers?
A: A spokeswoman for the first lady says that Michelle Obama currently has a staff of 24. That may indeed be the largest of any first lady, but Hillary Clinton, with 19 staffers, and Laura Bush with at least 18 and perhaps more, weren’t far behind.

Michelle’s European Vacation

Q: Did Michelle Obama and her daughters use taxpayer money to take a European vacation?
A: The first lady, her mother and her children did stay in Europe for a private vacation after the president completed an overseas trip on official business. However, no taxpayer money was used for the first family’s personal expenses.

Michelle Obama’s Salary

Q: Did Michelle Obama make $317,000 a year while working part-time at the University of Chicago Medical Center?
A: This allegation in a chain e-mail is wrong: Obama’s reported income was $103,633 in 2007, the year she reduced her work schedule to part time.

Michelle Obama’s Room Service?

Q: Did Michelle Obama spend $450 on room service?
A: No. The claim is a total fabrication, and the sources that publicized it have retracted the story.