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. Annie the Democrat

    Michelle needs to STAY OUT of policy issues we DID NOT VOTE FOR MICHELLE.

    She has ZERO Experience and SHE WAS NOT ELECTED INTO OFFICE....her husband was. We voted for BARACK .......not Michelle.

    If we wanted a two- fer we would have voted for Hillary and Bill.

    February 4, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  2. BL

    What a great First Lady! She has substance and style. She is very bright and is applying her abilities in ways that will bring about positive change. This new administration is even better than I had hoped.

    To all you who posted negative comments about this article, wake up and get a clue. Our country is a mess and we have to fix it. What we have done in the past is not working. Are any of you contacting your representatives and giving suggestions on how we should be fixing our problems, or are you all just practicing to be professional whiners?

    February 4, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  3. Carol

    Love her!

    February 4, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  4. johnny the boy

    Is it just me or do the Obamites lack egos of their own? Please explain the worship of these people?

    February 4, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  5. Matthew

    Barak is down to 66% approval.

    Maybe you should let Michelle take control of a few things for you. She is wrapping up HUD right now. She spoke with Barney Frank and all the illegals are going to get new loans. She is going back into the hood and making sure that everyone that was approved before with a 540 score gets a 5% loan. Wow genius.

    Go Michelle. Bring on the reparations. I want more free stuff. Why should I work so hard. I want the american dream.

    February 4, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. ginger

    Michelle,

    You are a joy to watch as a mom, wife and first lady.

    Forget the haters just keep on doing what you do.

    February 4, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. S Callahan

    Michele, I applaud you to 'take on' both support of the military and housing.....these two are so interconnected to all the other government offices....good move on your part. I wish you well.

    February 4, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  8. Chaim Patterson

    Today's comments should have included the point that LEADERSHIP requires TEAMWORK.

    February 4, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  9. Matthew

    If you paid your mortgae you dont get any help.... FACT
    If you didnt pay your mortgage but some poor man tricked you into sigining paper because you can vote even if you can not read, then holla... welcome to america. We wil give you money...FACT.

    This is great. All those poor dumb people in the hood need us.

    Michelle will bring her people out of despair. All those terrible white people took advantage of them and sold them a bad mortgage. No one is responsible for their own actions. Just start over honey.

    End HUD. The goverment does not need to loan people money or guarantee loans.

    February 4, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  10. Sarty

    America -be grateful. You have a smart couple in WH. You elected them.
    Bravos to you all.

    February 4, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. John

    John,
    If we calculated inflation like we did under Jimmy Carter, then our current inflation would be about 16-18% and has been for about the last year.
    Also, less than 20% of the sub-prime mortgages were backed by Fannie Mae. They didn't qualify. Don't blame the poor guy with no business experience. Blame the Harvard MBA grad who made the loan!
    I did buy a house (with fixed interest albiet) but I saw many realtors show the little book that teaches 5 year olds how to buy property.

    February 4, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  12. obama all the way

    at last a REAL first lady.

    February 4, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  13. TjayeInLA

    Wow! So, you Republicans are really bitter about the Dems being in office, huh?

    February 4, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. Lush Limprick the REAL Chairman of RNC

    @ana

    You twit, stop trying to turn the First Lady into an image of yourself, a repub "stepford wife" walking 3 paces behind the husband.

    February 4, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  15. John

    John,
    If we calculated inflation like we did under Jimmy Carter, then our current inflation would be about 16-18% and has been for about the last year.
    Also, less than 20% of the sub-prime mortgages were backed by Fannie Mae. They didn't qualify. Don't blame the poor guy with no business experience. Blame the Harvard MBA grad who made the loan!
    I did buy a house (with fixed interest) but I've seen the phone banks and shyster loan officers. I saw many realtors show the little book that teaches 5 year olds how to buy property.
    ..."And a lot of people worry about paying too much. Don't worry. The bank won't let you pay too much." What a joke! You ERA realtors know what I'm talking about – don't you? The whole industry was full of highschool dropouts and charlatans. It was the MBAs that caused that. Not the poor guys. and NOT the Democrats.

    February 4, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  16. EBC

    Ana, Ana, Ana,

    YOU obviously wish you are the First Lady..... your misery is showing through my dear.

    First of all, the Obama girls are IN school and as First Lady, Michele Obama's focus is and will always be on family and children issues.

    Which is more than I can say for you and ALL the miserable "haters" in this blog who appear to all belong to the same club; the "MISERABLE CLUB".

    February 4, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  17. Commen Sense

    Social Engineering by Governement along with the Environmental movement madness have put this country where it is. It's at the feet of these two things, doesn't matter what party your in, this is where the huge problem lies.

    February 4, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. TjayeInLA

    Ana...are you suggesting that she should "stay in her place"? Wouldn't any woman with school aged children, an education and the ability to make a difference use her time to do so?

    She's a Dem wife; not a republican wife. She works her brain.

    February 4, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  19. Matt

    She was elected to what again?

    February 4, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  20. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Keep smiling First Lady Michelle Obama and the world smiles back at you. I liked Laura Bush, she was a gracious first lady, but I love you.

    February 4, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  21. Margo, FL

    What is a welcoming tour? Does the agency welcome her? Does she welcome the agency? I don't get it.

    This is just another attempt at pretending to "do" something when you are really doing nothing.

    Bottomline: She wants to stay close to home so she can be home for the kids when they return from school, but she can't just sit in the White House. Hence–the "Welcoming Tour".

    Just be a stay at home mom and quit fooling yourself and the people.

    I'm not buying it.

    February 4, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  22. Katie, OH

    A little make-up would go a long way on Michelle. She really needs it bad.

    Skip the tours and go get some make-up Michelle. You're the first lady, not some soccer mom from the burbs.

    February 4, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  23. Paula, IN

    Once again, her hair looks raggedy.

    February 4, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  24. Marcie, GA

    I really like Barack, but I don't like his wife. She seems arrogant and hollier than thou. She talks about public schools, but puts her kids in private schools. Don't like her, never will.

    And is it too much for her to get a make-over. She does not represent me, I comb my hair and put on make-up. Doesn't the WH have a salon?

    February 4, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  25. lr

    Mrs. Obama has staff in White house t hep her with her children, and they go to school. She does not have to cook, to clean, etc. It is nice from her to try to do something worth, something good for people.
    Only question is: what really will help, what will do the job? It is time of confusion, what way to go, what is the best way? How to help all?

    February 4, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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