First Lady Michelle Obama has almost completely disappeared from view since the shutdown began October 1, holding not a single public event and canceling scheduled appearances in California.

It’s not clear exactly why she’s not even materializing at the White House, though one likely explanation is that at least a portion of her staff has been furloughed.

What’s more, the White House probably doesn’t want to be seen as staging unnecessary events at a cost to taxpayers as President Obama wages a public relations war with Republicans over the shutdown. Michelle has a reputation for being loose with taxpayer money, at least when it comes to travel.

Nevertheless, it’s odd that she isn’t even holding some kind of small public event at the White House. The first lady isn’t even tending to her own vegetable garden, which is rotting away and being overtaken by weeds. She’s hosted a couple of official private meetings, but that’s been it.

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