February 4th, 2009
03:15 PM ET
6 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. John

    Patience my Republican friends....

    It's only a matter of time before this angry spoiled woman sticks her big foot in her mouth, then they'll have to muzzle her like Bill did to Hillary!

    Speaking of "foot in mouth".....Hillary and Michelle and Barry...

    We're going to have so much fun with these three in office....speaking of elevators that don't go to the top.....I can't wait!!

    February 4, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. JustWatching

    Get the illegals out of HUD housing and check your federal HUD employees for American citizenship.

    February 4, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. Booster Mom/Florida

    STOP DRINKING THE KOOL-AID look what this president is doing to our country we will be standing in line waiting to get bread shortly pelosi frank dodd reid they all just want to line their pockets and screw the rest of us for all of you who voted for this joker thanks alot he swooned you and granted he didnt cause this totally but really he only has less than 2 yrs in the senate you people were hungry for change i get that but is this what you wanted its to late now this bill is a joke i hope they take the people into account because we and our childrens children will e paying for this i agree he will get us out of this recession but only into a depression wish everyone would have done alot more paying attention and have educated themselves before this election ohhh and they want money to go to acorn lol that is who helped him create this crap uninformed no nothing about politics never read a paper except for lottery numbers out of the wood work voters hope your happy good luck to you and your families start paying attention this effects you we dont live in a vaccum God Bless us all!!!

    February 4, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. Boston Irish

    Independent_Me – High interest rates on credit cards can't be blamed on Bush. They have always been as high as they can crank them up. But, maybe the reason they are way high for you is your credit rating is not so good and that isn't Bush's fault either and Obama can't help you. If you pay your balance each month, they can charge 100% interest and you won't have to pay a penny of it.

    February 4, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Boston Irish

    Angus "February 4th, 2009 3:45 pm ET

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

    You got that right. LOL

    February 4, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. Matt

    @ Matthew Truth

    I know it's hard for you to accept, but there's some truth to the old saying that behind every great man stands a great woman (or to modernize, "partner"). It's not just "behind every great man sits a great trust account."

    February 4, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. registered republican in Houston

    Tee

    You seem to have a problem. Taking your meds might help.

    Rather than trying to score political points why don't we just enjoy having an attractive and intelligent First Lady who is willing to work unpaid for the people of this land.

    February 4, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. Matt

    @ Ana

    She's doing what all first ladies do. Laura Bush was very involved in education issues. Grow up.

    February 4, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. Jonathan

    Ana, it seems to me that you've never heard the phrase: "It's better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to speak up and remove all doubt!!"

    You Go Michelle!!!!!!!! You and the president are EXACTLY what we need!!!

    February 4, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. aware

    Michelle doesn't have a clue, and she is not a pretty picture!

    Keep her profile low Obama! :)

    February 4, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  11. Dan, TX

    Hurray for Michelle!

    February 4, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. Boston Irish

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

    Oh Please, I can remember when she said during campaigning, after her husband had pretty much won the nomination, that this was the first time in her adult life she was proud to be an American. I don't know about you, but I've been proud to be an American my whole life. I may not agree with the politics, but I've always been proud. With Michelle, this just proves she wasn't proud until she had the chance to become First Lady. Not one word from her in apology. Looks like the lady does have a price, and it is VERY HIGH for the American people to have to pay.

    February 4, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. Jo

    Patty....as compared to Sara Palin who can't even finish a sentence with oit an aw shucks, you betcha, wink wink. I am so glad we actually a people in the WH who care about the average person and not the filthy riich like the Reagans and Bushes.

    February 4, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Ellen Perkins

    Not to worry, she's not hearing anything. She doesn't even listen to her clothes designers apparently.

    February 4, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. Glennis

    Ah yes, another co-presidency in the making. Who told Ms. Obama that she was elected? Who cares about her listening tour? If she wants to work, that's fine. If she wants to interfere in governmental affairs, then I say to her, "Sit down and shut up!".

    As for HUD, it should be eliminated along with the Department of Education and a few others. They're nothing but useless, ineffective but costly boondoggles.

    February 4, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. Lillie

    I love you, Madam First Lady Obama! You're brilliant and I'm confident you'll do a great job while serving in your role as America's First Lady!

    February 4, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. Bafun

    @Tee

    What about you save your house but you are dying because your are sick? The probleme is you are not sick and don't lost your house and cannot put yourself in the situation. You are for sure a good Christian: sex is evil , guns and war are approuved by God.
    No, Obama doesn't save houses but he will try. He also will try to help people who think that to make love is better than to make war.

    February 4, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. karen-Phoenix

    What a Lady!!! She's walking the talk!!! Be Laura didn't even know where the HUD building was or even what it was!!!!

    February 4, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. David

    OK, let me get the negatives out of the way.

    I hope the "shtrong" thing gets addressed – regardless of party, it's not a good thing when someone prominent doesn't pronounce words correctly (think Bush with "nuculer").

    I'm also thinking it won't be too long before she says "the President" instead of "Barack." Makes him sound like a candidate.

    And please don't pair the gray menswear with purple silk.

    OK, that said, I wish her well as she settles into various advocacy roles!

    February 4, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. Joe the fake plumber is a tax cheat and a tool.

    To the rightwingers on this thread,

    You lost.

    February 4, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  21. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I WISH I COULD HEAR THE LACK OF INTELLIGENCE COMING OUT OF HER MOUTH!!!!!!!!!!

    February 4, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  22. Love the Obamas

    She's my first lady!!!

    February 4, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. Amazed

    Some people that make comments on these stories are pure idiots (tee, ana, obama victim) There's a great big old world out there that would love you as new citizens.

    February 4, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. Just a family

    Mrs. Obama,
    Please ask your husband and his cabinet members when people like my husband and I are going to get help with our mortgages...the one we DIDN'T overspend on, planned on refinancing with credit score of 780 and now are struggling to pay, due to the fact that the help is going to those throwing away their credit scores and waiting for the government to bail them out of houses they STILL cannot afford? My husband has a terminal illness and I doubt I will be able to keep my home for my 17 year old son and I when my husband is no longer with us. What help is there for our family???? And for others who do not wish to trash their credit scores? I think that more needs to be done on the housing market. In fact, all focus should be on the housing market.

    I do not want a hand-out from the govenrment, I just want to keep my home without watching our credit scores go down the drain to do so.

    February 4, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. Just a family

    Mrs. Obama,
    Please ask your husband and his cabinet members when people like my husband and I are going to get help with our mortgages…the one we DIDN'T overspend on, planned on refinancing with credit score of 780 and now are struggling to pay, due to the fact that the help is going to those throwing away their credit scores and waiting for the government to bail them out of houses they STILL cannot afford? My husband has a terminal illness and I doubt I will be able to keep my home for my 17 year old son and I when my husband is no longer with us. What help is there for our family???? And for others who do not wish to trash their credit scores? I think that more needs to be done on the housing market. In fact, all focus should be on the housing market.

    I do not want a hand-out from the govenrment, I just want to keep my home without watching our credit scores go down the drain to do so.

    February 4, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6