Michelle Obama is too expensive for Merced

Vanessa Richardson

I admire the First Lady, and I am excited to see her give the keynote address for the first graduating seniors at the University of California at Merced on May 16. (I live 90 minutes north of Merced and was able to score a spot after doing some marketing writing for the school when it first opened four years ago).

But wow, she's an expensive lady to host. The Merced Sun-Star reports the school's commencement budget has ballooned from $100,000 to $700,000 to accommodate Obama on campus. It's not because Michelle has requested five-star digs for her Secret Service agents. Rather it's because UC Merced officials want to make a big splash.

According to spokesperson Tonya Luiz, "We have her first public address. It's our obligation to make Merced look good." The top cost is an estimated $300,000 for an audio/visual firm to broadcast the event on-site and provide a live feed for media outlets. It's doubtful they would be shelling out that kind of dough if the unpopular Governator was giving the address.