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Michelle Obama Visits Homeland Security

By Ed O'Keefe



Michelle Obama speaks at Department of Homeland Security headquarters Tuesday in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mandel Ngan/Getty)

The Washington Post's Richard Leiby was the pool reporter for today's visit to the Department of Homeland Security by first lady Michelle Obama. His report from The Post's 44 blog:

Security was tight at the Department of Homeland Security Tuesday at 10 a.m -- maybe because it's a secure facility? -- as about 300 employees of DHS lined up for the visit of the First Lady. Your pooler was sniffed by two different dogs, one black and one brown. Neither was a Portuguese Water Dog, unfortunately.

And for those who haven't been keeping track, but should be, the threat level today was yellow -- "elevated...with significant risk of terrorist attack," per the DHS.gov advisory.

Mrs. Obama arrived at 11:13 a.m. to deliver remarks to the excited crowed in a wood-paneled gymnasium in the Upper Northwest Washington headquarters of the hydra-headed agency. Moments earlier -- at 11:10 -- DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano introduced Mrs. Obama, and noted that it was the first time in the department's 6-year history that a first lady had visited the headquarters. Mrs. Obama described Napolitano as "always one of my favorite people to see" on the campaign trail.

Boilerplate: The visit was Mrs. Obama's ninth on her "thank you tour" to various Cabinet agencies. So far she has been to HUD, DoT, Education, Agriculture, Energy, Interior, State and EPA, always receiving adoring welcomes from the often unsung bureaucrats who labor for the Common Weal under the great Wheel of Government.

As in the past, a group of 15 agency employees assembled on the stage behind the podium, some selected for their long service to government. At DHS, two members of the Coast Guard were in uniform, as was an officer for ICE. They had to stand on stage for probably a half hour under the glare of bright lights, embodying and enduring one of those fabled hurry-up-and-wait occasions that are required by a position in the bureaucracy, as well as membership in the FLOTUS Agency Visit press corps. (Forgive that long sentence but while waiting we crafted it as clever B-matter and just couldn't bear to edit it.)

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By Ed O'Keefe  | April 14, 2009; 2:44 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments  
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