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. simp

    Ana you are an idiot. A first lady is out and about trying to help the country if you had an ounce of brains you would know that instead you are using that very small part of a brain that you have to hate on our very intellegent and likeable first lady, you are a pathetic person.

    First lady Michelle Obama you are a great mother and wonderful example for women of all backgrounds. I know you will have a hugh inpact on our country and women all over the world over the next 8 Years.

    February 4, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Vanessa

    Awesome Michelle, it's women like you that make a difference!!!

    February 4, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Ariana

    Go girl!

    February 4, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. not a fanatic

    I like her even less than her husband.

    February 4, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. I witnessed history!

    My girl!

    February 4, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. nicholas

    to ana,sylvia and angus,

    when are you guys gonna get over the fact that the republicans lost he general elections.you spew bitterness and hate on every blog you comment on.you guys need to get a life if you can find something nice to say about the first Lady's efforts.

    at least she's doing something,what did the previous one do?she was the only good thing about the previous administration although she was as blind as those in command.

    michelle is and will be remember as the first Lady that really cared about America.

    February 4, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Patty

    I just don't understand why Michelle Obama insists on pronouncing words like "strong" or "street" as if they are spelled "sh-trong" & "sh-treet". She did it again at HUD. She is too educated to mispronounce such simple words. Or is it a speech impediment?

    February 4, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. John

    Yes, there's so much more money to spend.

    You HUD people get ready we're going to pass the largest spending bill in the history of the world. You'll be paying for this for at least 2 decades, or we'll just print more money sending inflation to the all time highs of the Jimmy Carter era....15+%.

    Don't the Dems know anything but "raise taxes and spend money? That's the reason for the "housing market collapse", just ask "Barney the Senator". Unrestricted borrowing backed by Fannie Mae for people that didn't qualify to buy their house to begin with.

    Wake-up, it's your money they're spending, not the governments!

    February 4, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. Obamas have their work cut out for them

    another agency that Bush neglected and could have done some much more with

    I with the Obamas the best, the last nightmarish 8 years are going to take a long time to fix

    February 4, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Robin

    Another Hillary in the making. Except our current president knows better and will not "step out" on this gal.

    February 4, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Kornelia Tamm

    THE WAY TO GO, FIRST LADY, YOU ARE TRULY AMAZING.

    February 4, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. Tee

    safe sex doesn't save houses
    international abortions doesn't save houses
    OBAMA doesn't save houses

    Obama....LIES ALL LIES!!

    February 4, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. Susan

    When in the world is the gov't going to figure out that if you want to stop foreclosures you have to help everyone ie: owner occupied, 2nd home owners and investors. The only people I see getting help are homeowners that choose not to make payments and ruin thier credit. What about the people that are draining their reserves/retirement accts to stay afloat. Yes, some people have lost homes due to sub-prime loans, unemployment etc. Lets be realistice why should people continue to struggle when mortgages are higher than today's values.

    February 4, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. Sue

    Ana – When Michelle Obama visited HUD, I'll bet her girls were in school. Use some common sense.

    February 4, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. Jackie; Stone Mountain, Georgia

    All you haters out there; SHUT UP!!! I don't recall Laura Bush doing anything but reading books to children for photo ops and spending huges amounts of taxpayers money on expensive china to entertain their filthy rich friends that her husband Bush #43 help to get filthy rich might I add. Don't hate on 1st Lady Obama because she's just as smart, if not smarter than the President himself. You people are afraid of a Smart, Strong Black Woman and it's making you look very very ugly right now; so my suggestion to you is LAY OFF 1st Lady!!!!!

    February 4, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. Luke Brown

    If it were not for HUD and the programs it administered, millions of Americans would be without a decent place to live.

    Michelle, if you want a cause that speaks to the decency of the American character, this is it.

    Thanks so much for caring about this much maligned agency and its important work. You go girl.

    February 4, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. Mari

    @ ANA......... take a deep breath! WHY SO CRITICAL???? Mrs. Obama's daughters are at school! ALL First Ladies have been active in their husband's administrations! Why shouldn't Mrs. Obama visit HUD, and then report back to her husband? Also, when we VOTED FOR OBAMA, we also voted for Michelle. Peace.

    February 4, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. LJG

    May be the 1st lady should help her husband w/ the vetting of his cabinet members. Gees how many of them are NOT paying their personal taxes?? His cabinet are dropping like flies. I don't remember this happening to past Presidents including Clinton. Is this the New look & CHANGE we were supposed to see??? But what can we expect, Obama's from IL – look at all their former Governors who are in prison. Corruption in Washington DC – now that's the CHANGE I guess Obama was going for, huh??? When are people going to stop gushing over Obama because of the color of his skin & see all his screw ups (his words from yesterday!)??

    February 4, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. legal in nc

    Unlike Michelle, Laura Bush never found it necessary to promote herself in front of the cameras when she did things for people. Other than just stopping by for a casual visit (photo op) what did Michelle do??

    Much like her husband she listed a few things that she wanted to do with no idea how to get them done.

    Just more of the same!

    February 4, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. Karl

    Patty. You are so Petty.

    February 4, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. Mickie

    The republicans just can't get over the fact that they lost! Now they attack Michelle, who is an intelligent, hardworking, dedicated mother and great role model for women everywhere. The republicans in the senate are hollering they want more housing fix, while they only respond with more tax breaks for the rich to be included in the pay out. Well, Michelle is actually trying to learn more about the housing market and HUD. It's a shame Barbara Bush didn't care and certainly McCain and Cindy didn't care - he couldn't even keep track of how many houses they owned.

    February 4, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  22. CK4NYSenate2010

    Sylvia February 4th, 2009 3:56 pm ET

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

    Because Laura the librarian did SOOOO much to keep education at the forefront of her husband's administration.

    Three Cheers for the First Lady!!

    February 4, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. Mike in Houston

    You Go Girl. You go all the way back to Chicago and leave our children alone.

    February 4, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. Jamara For Pres. Obama

    Ana & Sylvia,

    Both of you are HATERS!!!!!! Why don't the both of you do something meaningful in your lives so you don't have to belittle others. The First Lady and our President are outstanding!!!!

    February 4, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  25. CK4NYSenate2010

    stag February 4th, 2009 3:38 pm ET

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

    – Because the previous first lady did sooo much to get the country out the dung her husband put it in... right... nothing says "I love you" like inaction

    We love you Michelle!!!

    February 4, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
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