February 4th, 2009
03:15 PM ET
5 years ago

First lady takes listening tour to HUD

Hosted by Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan, background, the first lady was warmly greeted at HUD Wednesday.
Hosted by Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan, background, the first lady was warmly greeted at HUD Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Noting that "great leaders are only as great as the people who hold them up," first lady Michelle Obama implored an enthusiastic throng of staffers at the Department of Housing and Urban Development Wednesday to "recommit to the task at hand" as the country struggles with a wave of home foreclosures.

"We love you," yelled one employee as the first lady began her brief remarks.

"I love you, too," she replied as the crowd roared its approval. "That's one of the reasons why I'm here."

Continuing a welcome tour of federal agencies that began Monday at the Education Department, the first lady thanked the HUD staffers for their warm reception. "I want to learn, listen, (and) know what is going on from you," the first lady said. "But also to say thank you on behalf of my husband, my family, and this country."

Watch: The first lady rallies HUD employees

Obama said that while the department has been doing "outstanding work" in recent years, "there's a lot more to do (as) so many families have lost their homes and millions are struggling to keep up with their mortgages."

In the wake of the housing market's collapse, she said, "you and your colleagues are going to be asked to do even more. ... It's of critical importance that we stem the tide of foreclosures and find a way to keep people in their homes."

"Home ownership has always been one of the building blocks for strong neighborhoods," she added.

Obama highlighted administration plans to, among other things, weatherize at least 2 million low-income homes, boost programs to rehabilitate abandoned houses, and help make "much-needed repairs" to military housing.

"Let's get to work," she concluded.


Filed under: Michelle Obama
soundoff (129 Responses)
  1. obama-mama

    Bravo first lady, Bravo.. This is change we can believe in.

    February 4, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Matthew Truth

    Go get them Michelle.

    Make a difference Queenie.

    She is really really smart. Michelle will be a great help to Barak.

    February 4, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. stag

    The country is going down the drain, and we have to read about MO's "I love you". What a bunch of crap.

    February 4, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. Matthew Truth

    Go get'm Michelle.

    You are really really smart. Please help us. Barak needs you.

    February 4, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Dave

    Glad to see CNN reporting on the Nancy Pelosi gaffe! If it had been Palin it would have been breaking news!

    "500 million jobs lost every month"

    February 4, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. Austin, Texas

    What a beautiful, strong, charismatic, and loving warm heart lady...

    WE LOVE YOU FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA!

    February 4, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. Independent_me

    You go, Michelle!
    We know that you and Pres. Obama really care for us! True compassion is very evident in you both.
    Please tell your husband to do something about the high interest on credit cards that are draining our pockets and draining our ability to put money back into the economy through purchases and investments.

    This started under the Republicans and is contributing to the ruin of the economy!

    February 4, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. Mary from Kentucky

    I'm all for it, First Lady. Don't let the Republicans stop you; They are the meanies people there is.

    February 4, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. Mississippi Mike

    Mrs. Obama, please don't thank HUD on my behalf. If I were in charge, HUD would no longer exist. If it did, it would be much smaller and would not hand money out to illegal immigrants.

    "Listening Tours" are nothing but publicity stunts, lets call them what they are and stop wasting CNN's time with them.

    February 4, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. Angus McDugan

    Hmmm.... Must have been tough for her to only listen.

    February 4, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. phili

    You go first lady.

    February 4, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. phili

    That is a good start.

    February 4, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. Ana

    We DID NOT VOTE for Michelle Obama, we voted for her husband.

    She needs to worry about her children and stay out of the policy issues.

    If she wants to help run this nation then she should run for office like every one else.

    Was she lying when she said she was going to focus on her children?

    February 4, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. Victoria

    I was there. And it was an honor having her come to speak. She is one of my Sheros!

    February 4, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Obama Victim

    listen to this.....................: :GO AWAY

    February 4, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. watcher

    Noting that "great leaders are only as great as the people who hold them up," should should have followed that by saying, "and that's why cabinet members are exempt from obligtion to pay their taxes."
    What a bunch of hypocrites!

    February 4, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. chris

    When did Laura Bush ever say "Lets get to work"? Good for Michelle!

    February 4, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    HUD? That's another bit of the Federal government for which there's no Constitutional basis.

    Yet another phenomenal waste of money that needs to be shut down.

    February 4, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Sylvia

    oh please.......
    she just can't seem to let go of the crowds and the cheers!!!!!

    February 4, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Shirley in California

    A First Lady who is NOT afraid of the people. Change? Great job Michelle!

    February 4, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. LYNETTE IN CA

    SO GRACIOUS!!!

    February 4, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  22. unity

    smart woman this one is

    February 4, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  23. proud american

    She looks awfully conservative today...no sleeveless gown? lol

    love ya Michelle! you've got brains and style too!

    February 4, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. Bob in Pa

    Oh my, what a wonderful photo op!

    February 4, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. Steve

    Obama's administration – tax cheaters we can believe in!

    February 4, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
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