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Malia Obama in Mexico

It was an adventure that the Obamas wanted to keep private: 13-year-old Malia's school trip to Mexico.

But just their luck, a major earthquake hit the region where Malia was traveling and the secret was out.

The earthquake, measuring 7.4 on the Richter Scale, was centered around the resort city of Acapulco on Mexico's Pacific coast, where thousands of American students are vacationing for spring break.

Malia was visiting the historic city of Oaxaca, 100 miles from the epicenter.

The White House has a policy of not commenting about the personal lives of the First Daughters.

Before the quake, officials even pressured websites to take down a wire service report about Malia's trip, and said, "The story violated an unwritten rule guiding news coverage of the President's family, that is, that the media don't report on routine or mundane activities involving Obama's children."

But when the earthquake hit, The White House had no choice but to assure Americans that Malia was out of harm's way.

"We can confirm that Malia Obama is safe and was never in danger," The White House said in a statement.

Paul Frahi of The Washington Post told INSIDE EDITION, "Once the earthquake hit, all bets were off. The safety of the President's daughter was an issue and was newsworthy, and they couldn't stop anybody from really reporting on a legitimate story."

Malia's presence in Mexico is also sparking criticism on the Presidential campaign trail.

Republican candidate Rick Santorum told Glenn Beck's radio show that the President should not have allowed his daughter to go to a country like Mexico, that the State Department says is plagued by drug violence.

"You should set an example. I think that's what Presidents do. They set an example. And when the government is saying this is not safe, then you don't set the example by sending your kids down there," said Santorum.

The White House is focused on maintaining the private lives of the Obama girls: "We would reiterate our request that the media respect the privacy and security of the Obama children."

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