The White House communications staff must have had a fun Monday as they denied rumors that Michelle Obama spent $50,000 on lingerie during a private shopping spree with the Queen of Qatar at a British boutique. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney surprised no one when he said the story was "irresponsibly false." But whither these rather frivolous rumors? 

The Telegraph and several other British publications published sketchy reports Monday that Mrs. Obama closed down the boutique Agent Provocateur for a private shopping session. The New York Daily News writes cryptically, "Many political and business insiders suspect the Agent Provocateur floated the rumor of Obama’s shopping spree as a political stunt." Publicly the store said they don't comment on their (potential) VIP shoppers, but this still strikes us as a more plausible explanation than the idea that the First Lady would even want $50,000 worth of racy underwear. (But, then, what do we know of such matters?) And it is an admittedly good idea, both because Obama has become something of a fashion icon (though she favors the slightly less pricey fare from J.Crew) and because, even if the rumor is quickly squashed, it gets the store's name out there. Though, they could have come up with a more plausible sum.

True or not, we still had to smile at West Wing Report's quippy response to Carney's statement that the lingerie-gate was not to be: "too bad for the president."