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Michelle Obama Visits HUD

By Ed O'Keefe
Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama greets Department of Housing and Urban Development employees today during a visit to the department's headquarters. (Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

First Lady Michelle Obama continued her tour of Federal agencies and departments today, stopping by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to thank staffers and remind them that their work is critical as Americans face housing troubles.

Today’s visit, coupled with a stop at the Department of Education earlier this week, was partly designed as a “listening tour,” a public thank you to the department's workforce and partly an effort to “rally the troops” as the Obama administration sets priorities. The order of her visits to federal offices is based on her schedule, not her policy priorities, aides stressed.

Both the physical set up and tone of today’s event resembled the hundreds of campaign appearances she made last year, to mostly welcoming crowds. Her remarks were mixed with serious comments and casual jokes.

Here are a few of the highlights:

-- “It’s of critical importance that we stem the tide of foreclosures and find a way to keep people in their homes,” she told several hundred HUD staffers at the department’s Washington headquarters.

-- “Homeownership, at least as I knew it growing up on the South Side of Chicago, has always been one of the building blocks for strong neighborhoods, for strong schools and for strong families. People who own their homes and take care of their homes, it leads to the well-being of the entire community. It’s critical.”

-- “The Department of Housing and Urban Development is going to play a critical role in implementing elements of the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will help our communities,” she later said.

-- “Barack and I always believed that investing in the community that you live in first and foremost you live in is critical. And for the people here at this agency, we are now your neighbors,” she said to cheers.

-- “Many of you have been here for decades, working hard on these issues,” she said to cheers from the mostly African American crowd. “I can get an Amen on that,” she joked with a smile.

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 4, 2009; 1:34 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments, Overheard  
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Comments

Michelle Obama is nuttier than I imagined her to be.

What does she think her role for the next four years to be? Is she a co-President who has the run of all the Departments to walk through and make suggestions as she sees fit?

What happened to be "being the best mom for her children"? Got tired of that already, eh?

Posted by: pKrishna43 | February 4, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Your perception of Michelle may be a reflection of who you are.

Posted by: bjlamb | February 4, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

pKrishna43-- the kids are at school full time, I don't think she needs to around sit at home waiting for them.

I used to be a federal employee-- a little attention and a morale boost is important from time to time. Pushing the federal workforce to work harder is not a bad thing. I'm sure all of her remarks fit in with the president's agenda.

Posted by: Sakoro | February 4, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

It's terrific that the First Lady is visiting the agencies. Presidents and First Ladies are a team.

The administration won't succeed without the agencies. If the First Lady can motivate federal workers, God bless her.

I'd rather listen to her than Joe Biden.

Posted by: DagnyT | February 4, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

She is far from being nutty ,she is the First Lady and just like the President she has lots of work to do ,she has to start somewhere ,give the lady a chance before you start all the childish name calling

Thank You

Posted by: beulahland57 | February 4, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I hope she will be addressing the reverse racism in contractor hiring policy while she is at HUD

hmmm

HUD oneof teh agencies that kept silent as housing collapsed.

way to go

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | February 4, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

PKrishna43: I so agree. Who gives a ----
what the first lady does?

Posted by: ff99tfi | February 4, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

To beulahland57: the only 'job' the 'first lady' has to do is come up with some meaningful cause like US Parks, etc.
She has no real job for the U.S.
If anything she has hindered her husband with strange views such as 'the first time I was proud to be an American'. Jeez, if I don't hear anything more about her for this term I will be happy.

Posted by: ff99tfi | February 4, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I surely hope the post will limit their
newsy items about the President's wife.
Some class is in order.

Posted by: ff99tfi | February 4, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I think that it is great that the First Lady and her husband are trying to be involved in the nations plight. What I would like to see is the President look into some of the "going ons" of Illinois agencies because not only was the governor corrupt but so are most of the agencies. They really need to look into the heartland areas, they are a total mess.

Posted by: ladyt_59 | February 4, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Jealous much?

Posted by: rlj1 | February 4, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, "pkrishna" is a disgruntled "Bushie" who is unwilling to give the new president and his spouse any room to navigate Washington. I praise Michelle - she is bright, talented, and, from all appearances, has her children and family as first priorities. Kudos! After what we have seen of "inside Washington" it is imperative for the President and his spouse to navigate the formal structure as well as the informal. There is LIFE in the White House and no lights turned off at 8:30 p.m.! Kudos to the new President!

Posted by: davidreedyjr | February 4, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, "pkrishna" is a disgruntled "Bushie" ... Posted by: davidreedyjr

No, pKrishna is an unabashed liberal, whose candidate didn't win the nomination.

One can be supportive of the president's policies, and still criticize when they falter, as the great Barack himself admitted on all networks yesterday.

I am going to predict that Michelle will be gently told to scrap her cabinet department tours.

Posted by: pKrishna43 | February 4, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

who better than someone with her two daughters at an elite of elite private schools to stop at the department of education and praise public shools.

who better than someone living in a house with 135 rooms and 36 baths to stop at housing and urban development and praise public housing and trailer parks?

gee. i'm sold at this gesture of sincerity.

i can't wait until michelle (citing her extensive air force one experience), asks the airlines if she can be stewardess on my next flight... she will walk down the aisle of the coach section throwing raw fish to everyone from a bucket. but only if we BARK LIKE A SEAL for her....

Posted by: DriveByPoster | February 4, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

President Obama cannot be in all places, all the time, for all people. Michelle, his wife, is, therefore, acting as "his eyes and ears" among the bureaucratic establishment in Washington. It gives the bureaucrats an opportunity to be heard and an opportunity to establish a direct link to the president through Mrs. Obama. I don't recall Mrs. Bush #41 or Mrs. Bush #43 ever making any effort to interact with the Federal "work force". Do you?

Posted by: dickhealy | February 4, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

All of the last comments are pretty funny.
As for me, PLEASE calm down about stories
about the first lady .. jeez ... that is all she is ... the wife of the president.
Sorry, but I don't really care what she is
up to. She is not even that likable.

Posted by: ff99tfi | February 4, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

And furthermore, she is surely cashing in
on her black thing. If I was her I would
act as if 'she was nothing special'

Posted by: ff99tfi | February 4, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

sorry, but i didn't vote for michelle.

in fact, i never even saw her name on the ballot. where was it.. maybe printed on the edge of the paper?

i guess it's all coming together now. thath's why she has her mother living in luxury at the white house with her.. so that grammy bama can watch baby bama and bitty bamas while momma bama runs the country.

by the way.. has anyone told pappa bama thta he is now wearing the royal pantyhose for the family?

Posted by: DriveByPoster | February 4, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I believe the train of thought that women should sit down and shut up went out with the stone age and was definitely squashed in the early 1970's. I am sure that neither of the Bush First Lady's would agree that the educated little woman should be seen and not heard comment. It was a wonderful idea to let those who serve their country daily, and if I may say so, with much criticism--whether deserved or underserved, should receive acknowledgement and encouragement from the big boss and his most intelligent First Lady. We all need a pat on the back and someone to recognize that our work is important.

Criticism is most effective if it is positive. I appeal to the small minded to try to expand their horizons. THINK BIG. Volunteer your time to help someone in need. Reach out to the hurting. I am sure you will find less time to be negative and your sour grapes will be sweet again. Peace

Posted by: mchi9917yahoocom | February 4, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

OMG! michelle obama is holding her state of the union address on the networks now! quick! turn the channels! here she comes! wow! they are now playing, "hail to the chiefette! it's spectacular!! and here comes obama! he's wearing that gorgeous gold sequined dress! he looks just marvy! well.. they are seating obama now next to mrs biden! they will be cackling like hens this entire speech i bet! LOL! here comes michelle again! she looks magnificent as she is seated next to vice president biden. uh oh.. looks like nancy pelosi is getting jealous.... watch out michelle.. CATFIGHT!


Posted by: DriveByPoster | February 4, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

tsk...tsk someone craves attention. I wonder who it is...OMG it is you! I am praying for you.

Posted by: mchi9917yahoocom | February 4, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

People:
All these nasty and nonsensical comments are unnecessary.
I don't think the first lady iniated all these visits. These were responsiblities assigned her by the administration. Now is the time to rally around the administrtion in all of its iniative. It is your right as an American to express your opinion; but it is also your right to express your thought resposibly. Why express all these foolish comments and innuendos about people you know nothing about except you are trying to be a part of the fray, and can not intellectually express your thought, but to result to abused and character assasination.
Give the lady a chance to contribute her quota to her country.
Thank you.
Muyenneh

Posted by: Muyenneh | February 4, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

why do the first posters here always have to be nutty.

Posted by: clsmithj | February 4, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

mchi9917yahoocom wrote, "I am sure that neither of the Bush First Lady's would agree that the educated little woman should be seen and not heard comment."

-------------------------

i think stepford wife laura bush was on DRUGS all day. she didn't even know what time it was, much less make an intelligent comment that pertained to life as we knew it. and that smile on her face was painted on with clown grease #228.

but barbara bush.. she was just a nasty old hag. they should have kept a dirty sock in her mouth 24/7.. i can still remember old lady barbara bush as she visited the astrodome in houston, tx after the refugees from katrina sought shelter.. she said, "Almost everyone I’ve talked to says we're going to move to Houston. What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this - this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."

two first ladies from one family. i think i would have moved to cambodia and sustained myself on day old chicken embryos if jeb would have run and won.

Posted by: DriveByPoster | February 4, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

clsmithj wrote, "why do the first posters here always have to be nutty."

-------------------------------

obviously they just serve as a warm-up act for the main attraction... ladies and gentlemen.. CLSMITHJ!

clap! clap! clap! clap! clap!
clap! clap! clap! clap! clap!

clsmithj; "ladies and germs.."

ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!

clsmithj; "i just flew in from kansas, and boy are my arms tired!"

ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!

clsmithj; "take my wife.. PLEASE!"

ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!

Posted by: DriveByPoster | February 4, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

DrivebyPoster wrote,"i think i would have moved to cambodia and sustained myself on day old chicken embryos if jeb would have run and won"

-----------

here!here!

Posted by: mchi9917yahoocom | February 4, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

It's good to see Michelle Shaniqua Obama (aka Lady Sasquatch) putting her affirmative action education to use.

Posted by: Diannne721 | February 4, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Light! Wow - Michelle sure has a way to go to beat her.

Posted by: PalmSpringsGirl | February 4, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I think it is trivial to always respond
to the opposite view as 'gosh, you are so darn negative'. That says nothing.
As for me, I could not give a darn what the first lady does. That is not negative. She really has nothing to offer. Whether she is black, white, or purple. She is only married to the President. God.

Posted by: ff99tfi | February 4, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

The administration has to be quite careful in how they market Michelle Shaniqua Obama. She has very high negatives and she cannot be seen as taking a role in policy making.

Posted by: Diannne721 | February 4, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

All these nasty and nonsensical comments are unnecessary.

Your opinion. I do wonder what is in your
head about the first lady? Must be some magic that I don't see. I don't know why
opinions opposite yours are 'nasty and nonsensical'. I guess you are thinking some voodoo or magic things instead of reality.

Posted by: ff99tfi | February 4, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Is Diannne721 trying to make someone call her a racist. That's the only reason someone would post such a juvenile and ignorant statement. Shame on you.

Posted by: RNews | February 4, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Don't you just love how Michelle Shaniqua Obama can harness her inner ghetto when she is surrounded by "brothers and sisters". Can I get an amen on that? LOL!

Posted by: Diannne721 | February 4, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

To RNews:
"Is Diannne721 trying to make someone call her a racist. That's the only reason someone would post such a juvenile and ignorant statement. Shame on you".
I'm sure that most of us reading your comment are totally confused. The president's wife comes across very negative to me - let's say - mean Chitown
type. I am not being racist, it is was I see.

Posted by: ff99tfi | February 4, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Here's rnews, 'wha, wha, wha. I don't like what I read!! SOMEBODY has got to be a racist.'

How about this one....'Is rnews trying to be a big hater. Calling someone a racist when no racial comment was made, makes me actually calling you ARE an assclown.'

Posted by: 2xy4k9 | February 4, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I hold Michelle Obama to even a higher role in this presidency, if you remember, #44 was elected of the platform of change; you are beginning to see a classic change. Days of first ladies sitting at home 'The White House' or on non essential assignments is over, while we should understand the exhausting task of her mother role, taking time out to visit and encourage a vital department to the economic growth and development of the middle class Americans is not deserving of any criticism. Even while performing her quota in this daunting economic period, she always acknowledge her husband "Barack and I" thus implying she is not doing this for her own personal aggrandizement. For those who just like to criticize and not deep think intent, look at her first two choices; education, then housing and urban development. If She can only improve quality in just those two departments for her duration as First Lady, I think she would have earned her title as a true Americas First Lady. Kudos! Michell.

Posted by: abxinc | February 4, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

My God, some of these posts are idiotic. It's sad that anyone would even voice the opinion that the first lady is completely insignificant and is only relevant because of her marriage. Susan B. Anthony would explode. The first lady has an entire staff at the White House and more jobs than probably anyone posting on this article. She's also got more experience in constitutional law (much of it Ivy League) than many of our current Congressmen.

Furthermore, Michelle didn't just waltz out of her office to tour the departments. Any decision to have the first lady make these visits was a joint decision between Barack and Michelle and their staffs. And it's wonderful that the first lady is providing verbal and tangible support to our hardworking government officials in a time of dire economic need. It's wonderful that we actually have a functioning and loving family in the White House with a first lady who is incredibly smart and will actually be able to make a positive difference in a variety of areas.

I'm only 16 years old, but I'm continually saddened by the insensitive, ill-thought-through, and ignorant article posts throughout WP.

Posted by: pdawg455 | February 4, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

pKrishna43

Republicans don't want this administration to succeed. Do you not remember Mrs. Roosevelt who went out there and did what was needed to improve our country? You should be PROUD that our First Lady wants to get in there and help her husband get us out of this BUSH mess. My Gosh, at a
time such as America has now, as never before...and you are complaining that Michelle Obama is getting right in their to help? What do you want? Another Laura Bush who did nothing and stand by her husband THE WORST PRESIDENT IN THE HISTORY OF OUR NATION?
THINK AGAIN DEAR!!!!

Posted by: polish47 | February 4, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Shaniqua Obama was not the one elected. She is considered offensive and does not possess the charisma of her husband. She better tread lightly and remember the lessons learned when Hillary was First Lady.

Posted by: Diannne721 | February 4, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

pdawg455 wrote; "I'm only 16 years old, but I'm continually saddened by the insensitive, ill-thought-through, and ignorant article posts throughout WP."

----------------------

well, you write like you are 14. if you are continually saddened by the posts here, then i would suggest you log on to www.sesamestreet.com and see if BIG BIRD is giving his refresher class yet on 'advanced bubble blowing through a crazy straw'.. i'm sure you will find it most educational.

Posted by: presGWBfanclub | February 4, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

THIS IS THE CHANGE WE VOTED FOR...

THE CHANGE IS HAPPENING....

GET READY FOR IT YOU PEOPLE THAT HAVE YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND...

CHANGE IS GOING FORWARD...

CHANGE IS WHAT IS GOING TO BRING OUR COUNTRY BACK..A COUNTRY WE CAN BE PROUD OF ONCE AGAIN!!!

Posted by: polish47 | February 4, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

LOL! presGWBfanclub, that was the best post of the day.

Posted by: Diannne721 | February 4, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the first lady going all out to help in her own little way rebuild a battered America. At the inauguration,her husband called on all Americans to join in the work and she is one of the millions called to do so.As long as she keeps an eye on Saisha and Malia,remembers her duty as the wife at home,everything done now to get America working again is allowed within the armbit of rule of law.

Posted by: edbam2002 | February 4, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

pdawg455, pay no attention to presGWBushfanclub - it is not a matter of age, but class.

Posted by: SusanSC | February 4, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

presGWBfanclub wrote; "well, you write like you are 14. if you are continually saddened by the posts here, then i would suggest you log on to www.sesamestreet.com and see if BIG BIRD is giving his refresher class yet on 'advanced bubble blowing through a crazy straw'.. i'm sure you will find it most educational."

Oh my. I'm going to assume that your willingness to issue ad hominem insults to a politically motivated teenager is a clear indicator of the rest of your posts' content. It's ironic that you make an intellectual stab at my writing abilities and then proceed to dish out another obnoxious insult with middle school flair rather than addressing any of the points I brought up in my first post. Congratulations - you've established quite the scholarly superiority!

Posted by: pdawg455 | February 4, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

p.s. Much appreciated, SusanSC.

Posted by: pdawg455 | February 4, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Apparantly this Diannne721 witch is really mad that a black woman is in the white house. Well, witch, I have one word for you, tough! He, he, he..no matter what you say, she is a still will be the first lady, who has a lot more class and intelligence than you do.

Posted by: sandnsmith | February 4, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Dear "sandnsmith",

I encourage you in future posts to check your punctuation, grammar, and spelling. One might get the wrong impression and assume that you too are a victim of affirmative action.

Posted by: Diannne721 | February 4, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Well, well, Michele is on an Angela Davis kick. What in the world can Michele do about HUD???? Can she make more public housing? Can she fix up the cockroach infested present HUD husing????

Posted by: pKrishna43 she has the right idea. Michele said she was going to be a stay at home mom....let her get in there and try to help those poor minority kids learn to read.

Posted by: WISEOWL1 | February 4, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse


pdawg455 wrote, "Oh my. I'm going to assume that your willingness to issue ad hominem insults to a politically motivated teenager.. blah blah blah.. blah blah blah.."

---------------

sorry ace. but that wasn't ad hominem. another adult phrase you aren't well enough versed in to use...

you showed dissatisfaction with the quality of posts here on this blog, and i merely offered you a solution more to your liking.. a website catering to people of your mentality and age group. i thought big bird would be fun for you.

that's all. if i insulted you, i apologize. i just hope it won't spoil the taste of your cookies tonight.

but, here's a tip. don't post and hope you will be perceived as pretentious. some posters like that. it gives them a feeling of superiority. but to most readers... well, they just find it annoying.

Posted by: DriveByPoster | February 5, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse

It would seem that the same right wing campaign to smear Hillary Rodham Clinton is being waged against Michelle Obama. Get over it. Intelligent men choose intelligent women who do not hide their lights under bushels. Michelle Obama, raised by hard-working, decent parents, earned a doctorate in law from Harvard. Michelle and Barack sacrificed for years to improve the lives of people in their community and their state. Why would she stop now? Why would anybody want her to?

Posted by: urthsong1 | February 5, 2009 2:57 AM | Report abuse

I remember once hearing that "behind every great man there is a woman". Well here she is, and she seems far greater than some commenters can comprehend or accept.

Posted by: anth1 | February 5, 2009 3:00 AM | Report abuse

DriveByPoster wrote: "sorry ace. but that wasn't ad hominem. another adult phrase you aren't well enough versed in to use...

you showed dissatisfaction with the quality of posts here on this blog, and i merely offered you a solution more to your liking.. a website catering to people of your mentality and age group. i thought big bird would be fun for you."

___________________________

ad hominem attack: "An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the man", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument or claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or of the source making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim. The process of proving or disproving the claim is thereby subverted, and the argumentum ad hominem works to change the subject."

Whoops. Hate to disappoint, but I used a perfectly sound application of the phrase. Speaking of well-versed, I might also ask you to use a comma in direct address when typing things like "sorry ace" [sic] and to use capital letters at the beginning of sentences, but I wouldn't want to appear pretentious! My aim is not, believe it or not, to sound like a pretentious teenager posting on WP. If people come away with that impression, I can only assume it's because you've resorted to petty insults, and I've just used logic. My hope is that people will only read my first post about the responsibilities and duties of the First Lady and how Michelle Obama can be a force for positive change in Washington just like her husband. But after your first two patronizing and altogether unfortunate responses, I gather it's outside your ability (and maturity level) to hold any kind of civilized discussion about article subject matter, which is what these comments are supposed to be vessels for in the first place.

Posted by: pdawg455 | February 5, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't recall voting for her,her campaigning,running for office or her name on the ballot.She is not an elected official,has no official duties or responsibilties,and i doubt if the administrative staff at the big house had anything to do with her bouncing around to different agencies.
Praising the hud agencey was a bad move all around.they are one of the prime players in the foreclosure fiasco.The hud people along with the democrat congress,the banking and mortgage industry all had a hand in screwing the American public,primarily the young marrieds and the minorities.She should have gone in there with a Louisville Slugger and beat some sense into those people.
She should get somebody responsible to dress her daily,her clothes don't hang on her right,they make her look fat.
If she is looking for a job,i hear China is hiring.

Posted by: Deadman18 | February 5, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

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