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February 15, 2013
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First lady, Joe Biden in town

ASPEN - Michelle Obama and her daughters, Sasha and Malia, arrived Friday in Aspen to enjoy Presidents Day weekend.

Law-enforcement officials declined to discuss the first lady's plans for the short stay, but Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said that his agency will be providing assistance to the Secret Service during the visit. DiSalvo said his understanding is that Obama will leave town by Sunday.

Vice President Joe Biden also is visiting the area this week, with a short ski trip planned in Snowmass Village, according to published reports. Sgt. Brian Olson, of the Snowmass Village Police Department, declined to discuss the second-in-command's stay.

"We don't have information we're providing one way or another," he said.

DiSalvo said the Sheriff's Office will have seven to eight deputies helping the Secret Service during Obama's visit.

"As usual, we are there to support the Secret Service just like we support any other law enforcement in the state of Colorado," he said. "They have no power of arrest, so if they do need the power of arrest, we are there. And it's important that they have our local knowledge."

The Washington Post, in a report Friday, said "White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed Friday to reporters aboard Air Force One that the first lady and her daughters will be on a 'ski trip out west with family and friends.'"

The first lady's most recent visit to Aspen came over Presidents Day weekend 2012. She also was here in July 2011, when she was here to raise campaign funds for President Obama's 2012 campaign. The fundraiser took place at the home of Jim and Paula Crown in the Maroon Creek Club near the Tiehack side of Buttermilk.

DiSalvo said the cost to county taxpayers to provide support for this weekend's visit, as well as the one in 2011, is worth it.

"I think that loaning our resources to the Secret Service is something I will continue to do," he said. "It's a privilege to have dignitaries here, no matter what party they represent. It's an important part of the community."

The sheriff said it is too early too tell how much his staff expenses will be in relation to Michelle Obama's stay.

Biden and the first lady's visits are unrelated, and neither has a public appearance slated for the weekend. President Obama reportedly is vacationing in Florida this weekend.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Feb 16, 2013 08:28AM Published Feb 15, 2013 10:43PM Copyright 2013 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.