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Michelle Obama's Lobster Snack

Netlore Archive: Emailed campaign flyer purports to show the receipt for a $447.39 lobster "snack" ordered by Michelle Obama at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in October 2008.

Description: Forwarded email
Circulating since: Oct. 2008
Status: Fake / False (see details below)

Email contributed by Dean, Oct. 25, 2008:


Click to Enlarge

Analysis: False. This campaign flyer issued by PUMA PAC (a political action committee formed by Democrats opposing Barack Obama's candidacy) was based on erroneous information contained in a report published by the New York Post on Oct. 17, 2008.

The Post retracted the report several days later with the following statement:

The source who told us last week about Michelle Obama getting lobster and caviar delivered to her room at the Waldorf-Astoria must have been under the influence of a mind-altering drug. She was not even staying at the Waldorf. We regret the mistake, and our former source is going to regret it, too. Bread and water would be too good for such disinformation.

In point of fact, Michelle Obama was in Fort Wayne, Indiana on the date the incident supposedly took place (Oct. 15, 2008).

The purported receipt from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel showing a room service bill totaling $447.39 for hors d'ouevres, steamed lobsters, Iranian caviar and champagne is a forgery.

PUMA PAC published the flyer on its blog on Oct. 19 and retracted it on the 21st with this statement: "I sincerely regret repeating and amplifying what turns out to be a shameful attempt to embarrass and undermine Michelle Obama."

The one accurate feature of the flyer appears to be the quote from Michelle Obama at the top, which reads:

The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more.

Obama made the statement during a roundtable discussion with working women and mothers at a preschool in Harrisburg, North Carolina on April 8, 2008 (as reported in the Charlotte Observer on April 9).

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Sources and further reading:

Room Disservice (Retraction)
New York Post, 21 October 2008

New York Post Retracts Michelle Obama Room Service Report
PR Week, 21 October 2008

Consider the Post's Lobster
New York Observer, 21 October 2008

Official Looking Receipt Is a Fake
Politifact.com, 19 October 2008

Obama Meets Working Moms
Charlotte Observer, 9 April 2008

Regret the Error 10-24-08
Columbia Journalism Review, 24 October 2008

Last updated: 10/28/08

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