ASPEN—Twenty-two local law enforcement officers from two departments logged more than 400 hours to protect First Lady Michelle Obama during her visit here this weekend.
The security detail was a joint effort by members of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and Aspen Police Department who assisted the U.S. Secret Service and Colorado State Patrol. Aspen police officers and deputies said they were assigned to traffic and other unspecified security duties.
Mrs. Obama arrived on Friday, along with daughters Sasha and Malia, for their second consecutive President's Day weekend in Aspen and third in Colorado. Last year, the trio stayed at Aspen Skiing Co. owners Jim and Paula Crown's home and they went skiing at Buttermilk Mountain. In 2011, the first lady and her daughters visited Vail and went skiing there.
President Obama spent the weekend vacationing in Palm City, Fla., where he reportedly played golf with Tiger Woods, U.S. chief trade negotiator Ron Kirk and Houston Astros baseball team owner Jim Crane.
Vice President Joe Biden and his family also chose to spend the holiday in Aspen. He flew into Grand Junction on Thursday night and went skiing in Snowmass, where he mingled and took photos with locals.
A press release from the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office on Monday afternoon announcing the number of hours local law enforcement spent guarding Mrs. Obama made no mention of the vice president. Nor did officials say how much extra money it cost the taxpayer-funded departments to protect the Obamas.
"The visit was managed locally with the public in mind, attempting to minimize its impact on the citizens and visitors of Aspen and Pitkin County," the press release said. "Colorado Highway 82 remained open."
The sheriff's press information deputy was not on duty at press time.
The press corps aboard Air Force One quizzed White House spokesman Josh Earnest about the Obama family's separate trips late last week. Here is a partial transcription of the pool report:
PRESS CORPS: There’s … a report that Mrs. Obama and her daughters are — have a separate vacation plan for this weekend. Can you just confirm that?
MR. EARNEST: Those of you who have been covering the White House know that the first lady and her two daughters, on a pretty annual basis around this time, will go on a ski trip out west with some family friends, and they’re doing that again this year.
PRESS CORPS: The president doesn’t like skiing? (Laughter.)
MR. EARNEST: The president is looking forward to —
PRESS CORPS: Colorado is a swing state. (Laughter.)
MR. EARNEST: The president is looking forward to a couple rounds of golf this weekend.