Michelle Obama Returns from Controversial Vacation

First Lady Michelle Obama returns home from her Spanish vacation with daughter Sasha to face criticism for taking what some call a lavish trip during tough economic times.  INSIDE EDITION has the story.

Sasha Obama greets her dad with a huge hug, coming home to the White House after her five day vacation in Spain with mom, Michelle.

The First Lady is returning to a still raging firestorm of controversy over the trip, with many continuing to criticize her as "elitist" and "out of touch" for making the luxurious overseas excursion in these tough economic times.

On Good Morning America, Elizabeth Vargas said, "Should they have splurged?  Some people think it was tone deaf."

Now we're learning new details about why Michelle went to Spain.  It turns out she was keeping a promise to a long time pal Anita Blanchard, according to columnist Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times Politics Daily.

INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent said, "There's actually a back story to this trip,"

Blanchard said, "The reason Mrs. Obama went to Spain is because one of her close friend's father died.  The friend asked her to go to Spain with her and she said, 'you know what, I'm just going to go.'  There may be a political cost to Mrs. Obama for taking the trip, but she wanted to stand by her friend at a time of her personal need and grieving."

The First Lady came under fire because of the cost to the taxpayers.  Some reports claim Michelle and Sasha were traveling with forty friends and were surrounded by a team of seventy Secret Service.

"Mrs. Obama did not go with forty friends.  She went with two other adult women.  Between them, they had four daughers," said Blanchard.

There's also a reason Michelle chose to stay at the posh five-star hotel Villa Padierna, known as the best hotel in Spain, where the price of a room for one night can be as much as a whopping $2,500.

"The reason she stayed there, I'm told, is dictated by the security needs.  A five-star hotel is easier to guarantee security than other types of hotels," said Blanchard.

Michelle's next trip isn't likely to drum up as much controversy.  The first family is said to be heading to the batterd gulf region in Florida this weekend.