Mrs. Obama, Sweeping the Clouds Away in N.Y.
By DeNeen L. Brown
On her first visit to New York since she became first lady, Michelle Obama set aside time for a special stop today -- to "Sesame Street"
"And I was thrilled," Mrs. Obama told employees of the U.S. mission to the United Nations. "I never thought I'd be on Sesame Street with Elmo and Big Bird. ... I'm still thrilled. I'm on a high."
She told the employees that she was on the public-broadcasting show to discuss nutrition and healthy eating. (She did not say when her episode of the show would be broadcast.)
Mrs. Obama said with a smile that her meeting with the two Muppet legends was "probably the best thing I've done so far in the White House."
Her agenda at the U.N. mission, meanwhile, was simply to say thank you to federal employees. Since becoming first lady, Mrs. Obama has visited many federal agencies in Washington -- including the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Interior and Homeland Security -- to express gratitude to bureaucrats who often work tirelessly out of the spotlight.
"Many people don't hear that," she said. "Many people don't feel that the years that they've put in sometimes are not appreciated. And my visits are a simple way of saying yes, in fact, we see you, we know who you are, we value what you do."
While on her tour of federal agencies, Mrs. Obama, who was called "the closer" during the presidential campaign because of her ability to connect with audiences, has often promoted some of the president's messages. At the United Nations today, Obama spoke of the president's "new era of engagement when it comes to advancing America's interests around the world."
"And we've learned this again with the recent outbreak of the H1N1 virus," Obama said. "We know now that we cannot wall ourselves off from issues that are challenging our neighbors. It is moments like this when having relationships based on mutual trust and respect will be most beneficial. And as the world becomes even smaller and our future more interconnected and the stakes ever higher, your work is more important. It has never been more important."
Posted at 8:45 PM ET on May 5, 2009
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