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Michelle Obama's Target Shopping Trip Sparks Conspiracy Theories

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 10/03/11 09:12 AM ET Updated: 12/03/11 05:12 AM ET

Michelle Obama Target
First lady Michelle Obama made a shopping trip to the Potomac Yard Target last week Thursday.

WASHINGTON -- Thursday's incognito shopping trip by first lady Michelle Obama to the Potomac Yard Target across the river in Alexandria has attracted its fair share of fawning praise and biting criticism. Rush Limbaugh, on his radio show Friday, said the Target trip was elaborately staged: "What a phony baloney plastic banana good time rock-and-roller optic photo op this was!"

Politico writes that "[n]ever has a Target dash caused such a ruckus. Jennifer Lopez could probably shop at Target without creating a stir equal to that caused by the first lady..."

But how was it that Associated Press photographer Charles Dharapak happened to be the only photographer at the Target store when the first lady was there? (The photographer hasn't commented while the AP said the photo score was the result of "good source work.")

The Washington Post, meanwhile, notes that it would have been difficult for the photographer to know the first lady's plans around town in advance:

As a practical matter, it’s difficult to know in advance where a first lady is headed without White House cooperation. Obama, unlike the president, doesn't travel with a regular press retinue that records every public moment. The White House doesn't "provide details about the first lady's personal activities" to protect her privacy, said Semonti Stephens, a spokeswoman.
Target, also doesn't allow photographers to shoot inside their stores without prior permission from the company.

In Target news that's also related to Michelle Obama, one of the first lady's favorite designers, Jason Wu, is now collaborating with the discount chain on women's wear and accessories. As The Huffington Post Style's Ellie Krupnick relayed this morning:

Wu told Women's Wear Daily, "The exciting thing about this limited edition collection of affordable women’s wear and accessories is that it allows me to reach a wider audience and bring my designs to people who may not have been able to purchase them before."

Such as... Michelle Obama? The First Lady has been a huge Wu fan since she made him a household name, wearing one of his original designs at the 2009 Inaugural Ball. But Obama is also a Target fan, seen shopping at the big-box store just last week.

All of which makes Jason Wu for Target the perfect storm of FLOTUS faves -- and has us so totally freaking out. We will be first in line when the collection drops.

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