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Mrs. Obama Resumes Federal Agency Tour

By Ed O'Keefe

First Lady Michelle Obama with Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at department headquarters on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Alex Brand)

After a self-described "summer break," First Lady Michelle Obama resumed her tour of federal agencies on Tuesday with a visit to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The first lady focused most of her remarks on the "major public health threat" of childhood obesity, which in 20 to 30 years can morph into heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, missed days of work and lost productivity, according to a pool report of her remarks.

As recently as two years ago as a busy mom, she said she often turned to a drive-through window to feed Sasha and Malia, big fans of pizza and burgers. A warning from the girls’ pediatrician led her to change course.

“I was shocked. I felt we had our stuff together," she told the crowd at HHS headquarters' Great Hall.

The “ease” of the drive-through window had meant trips there “were like heaven,” she said. Now, if her daughters fight their servings of healthy food, she tells them, “You don’t have to like it. Just finish it.”

In her continuing efforts to tout her husband's accomplishments, Mrs. Obama also noted that economic stimulus plan sets aside $1 billion in funding for prevention and wellness programs.

Mrs. Obama was introduced by HHS chief Kathleen Sebelius and -- much like her previous visits -- was flanked on stage by 21 veteran HHS employees. (See a full list of them below.)

Obama singled out the current record-holder, Donald Abramson, a 62-year veteran who works for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“He still looks good,” she said of him. “Man. I can’t imagine doing something for 60 years.”

Veteran HHS Employees On Stage With Mrs. Obama:

Name Agency/Office Years of Service
Donald Abramson Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services 60+
Brenda Brown Administration for Children and Families 45
Bruce Craig Administration on Aging 44
Ellis Paul Davis Jr. Office of Public Health and Science 48
Dorothy Dillard Office of Civil Rights 45
John Gallivan Executive Secretariat 46
Elma Garnett Administration for Children and Families 43
Vernell Lancaster Office of the Secretary 42
Barbara Lewis Administration on Aging 46
Franklin Marks Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response 41
Naomi Miske Office of General Counsel 41
Sylvia Jane Norris Administration for Children and Families 42
Nancy Persun Office of Public Health and Science 46
Patricia Pierorazio Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services 50+
Linda Reeves Office of the Secretary 41
Gwendolyn Robinson Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management 41
Nehemia Rucker Administration for Children and Families 44
Willie Shackleford Administration on Aging 43
Raffie Shahrigan Office of the Secretary 42
William Tate Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services 50+

Source: Dept. of Health and Human Services

By Ed O'Keefe  | October 14, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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It is great to see theses very deserving public servants be honored by the First Lady, especially that Bruce Craig fellow!

Posted by: Nyyark | October 14, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

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