Kaine: Don't politicize Michelle Obama's travels

WASHINGTON (AP) – Democratic Party Chairman Tim Kaine is defending first lady Michelle Obama's vacation trip to Spain, saying critics of her travels are trying to politicize the issue.

The former Virginia governor Kaine told NBC's "Today" show this morning he thinks "it's wrong" to talk critically about her trips. Critics contend they send a poor message at a time when many Americans are out of work.

Kaine said, "She's a mom." He said this was an opportunity for her to take nine-year-old daughter Sasha to a part of the world she hadn't seen before.

Kaine said President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are "focused on being good parents." Mrs. Obama returned with Sasha to the White House late Sunday. Her trip occurred as Obama was celebrating his 49th birthday and their other daughter, 12-year-old Malia, was away at summer camp.

Kaine also said Democrats would be "making a mistake" to distance themselves from President Barack Obama in the fall election campaign.

Kaine says Obama well understands the historical trend where the party in power typically suffers electoral losses in non-presidential election years.

But still, Kaine says, it's no reason for the party's congressional candidates to shun him. He said voters understand that "Democrats have been doing the work necessary to get the nation going again" and voters will support them in November.

Kaine charged that the Republican strategy this fall is to "go back and do things that put the American economy into a free fall."

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