Obama Flies Back to Washington, But Michelle Stays in Hawaii

President Obama flew back from his holiday Hawaii break yesterday with daughters Sasha and Malia in tow, but without the first lady.

Michelle Obama stayed behind in Hawaii. According to the White House, "As part of her birthday gift from the President, the First Lady will remain in Hawaii to spend time with friends ahead of her upcoming 50th birthday."

Her birthday is Jan. 17.

The Maui News reported that evidence suggests Michelle is hanging out with Oprah:

A caravan of Maui police cars and black sports utility vehicles was sighted near Oprah Winfrey's house Sunday morning, local residents said, fueling speculation that first lady Michelle Obama is visiting the island.

Upcountry resident Paul Meyer said that he was riding his bike around 8 a.m. on Thompson Road in Kula when he saw the entourage of cars.

"There were two (Maui) police cars in front and back with their flashers on and four big black SUVs with heavy tinted windows," Meyer said. "And then there was a van toward the end of the group - they went by pretty fast."

Meyer, who has lived in the area for 30 years, said that he rides his bike on the road whenever he has time but was stopped on his route by a group of police officers and "Secret Service agents."

"Two young guys were there and Maui police officers and they said the road is going to be closed for the next week," Meyer said. "I asked, 'Is Michelle Obama in town?' and the policeman just nodded."

...A Kula resident, who declined to give his name, said that he walks with his wife every morning on the road, but also was stopped Sunday by a group of "men in uniforms with bomb-sniffing dogs."

"They said, 'You can't go up here . . . and that we're Secret Service and there's a protected person inside,'" the man said. "I'm 99 percent sure Michelle Obama is there. They wouldn't be protecting Oprah Winfrey with Secret Service."

Over the past year or so, Winfrey has installed security gates, fences and cameras throughout her properties, the man said. In 2004, Winfrey bought about 1,000 acres of Haleakala Ranch land, which included an 11-room bed-and-breakfast on 17 acres in Kula. She also bought more than 200 acres of coastal land in Hana between 2002 and 2005.

According to the White House pool reports filed over the holiday break, President Obama would meet up with his wife for dinner but spent much of the vacation alone at the gym or with friends for many, many marathon hours of golf.

The National Enquirer, meanwhile, has its own theories for Barack and Michelle spending time apart. The tabloid is infamous in political circles for breaking the news of Jesse Jackson's love child and John Edwards' affair.