February 4th, 2009
03:15 PM ET
9 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. lr

    Mrs. Obama has staff in White house to help 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 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. Young America

    Patty –

    Are you serious? Please find something other than Mrs. Obama's pronunciation of words to complain about.

    If it is a speech impediment, who cares? It's not hurting anyone but petty people such as yourself.

    Her credentials and position as First Lady speak for themselves... just leave her alone.

    February 4, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  3. Willy Brown

    Great more crack houses to come.

    February 4, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. BB

    I like Laura Bush, but I like Michelle Obama even more. Michelle has a law degree and could work for big bucks, but she has chosen to try to help the school system in DC - which is in dire straits. Any help at all will advance the entire country by advancing underprivileged children.

    You people expressing your hate need to stop being so self-centered, worrying only about yourselves. Others need.

    February 4, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. Jennifer

    Go Michelle! An excellent role model. Women really CAN do it all!!

    February 4, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  6. BL

    Margo, FL – You seem to be a very bitter person! Have you read about Michelle's accomplishments so far in life? She's a very bright and capable woman.

    February 4, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. Tyrone Cannon

    What petty remarks from Marci, Paula, and Katie!

    February 4, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  8. Tyrone Cannon

    What are you doing to help Stag?

    February 4, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  9. Sonam Yangzom

    It seems you are the woman who care for others and I wish you good luck for your dream to serve people for all background. Through this message, I have one request to you, I am a Tibetan refugee here in America.The situation in Tibet is getting worse and intense each day and we are helpless under ruthless Chinese suprression. We need your support for our non violence struggle and I hope Obama will forget the situation of Tibet. Please don't forget Tibetan people. Obama you have the power to make difference and please stand towards Tibetan cause. We believe in you that you will be a president who take care for humanity and those who are suffering!!!!
    Thank you

    February 4, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  10. LLT

    Reading these blogs reveals why Americans will never recover from this recession...hatred, gridlock and outright ignorance on every single issue. Pathetic!

    February 4, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  11. This is CHANGE

    Wonder if Mrs BO has tried on Hill's pantsuits. Sounds strikingly familiar to Hill and her drive for CHANGE in 1992...that flopped. You go girl...

    February 4, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  12. Caligirl

    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?

    I'm sorry Ana, but I have to agree with a previous post – You are an idiot!!!!

    The First lady actually has political responsibilities.

    Why don't you do what Michelle Obama, Myself and many other modern women have done; get an education.

    February 4, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  13. Mary Robinson

    To the news media. Please do not refer to Michelle Obama as a Rock Star. She is the First Lady. She is a woman who Loves this Country and wants to serve all the people Republicans and Democrats of all races, creed, religions, one Nation. Our First Lady deserves to be ackowlede as the First Lady at all times. I never heard the name Rock Star being use to refer to Laura Bush and people liked her also. So please ask your Jouranalist to do the same for Michelle Obama the First Lady of the United States of America. Thank You. P.S. to the people that have responded so far, please tell me why we have hateful messages in this blog, Ana, Sylvia, Steve, Obama Victim, Watcher, Mississippi Mike? Why? When someone like the First Lady is trying to move America forward to make this a better place for All, Why, do say hateful things? It really sadden and bothers me deeply when I hear people say things of this nature, (You don't have to Love, but you should never Hate). America has much work to do if we are going to Suceed, Bloggers spewing negative or hate doesn't advance or held this Country. The President and the First Lady and this Country needs each and every one of us. My thanks and prayers go out to First Lady Michelle Obama and President Obama and you have my support 100%. Ready to Serve.

    February 4, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  14. You Go Michelle

    I like her, she's ten times better than that plastic Barbie Doll Cindy-let-steal-your-husband-McCain.

    February 4, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. Caligirl

    Sylvia February 4th, 2009 3:56 pm ET

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


    Michelle is the First Lady crowds and cheers come with the territory.

    Are you jealous?

    February 4, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  16. Andy

    ooooh, I think Annie has a crush on Barack.

    That's the only way I can explain the stuff she spouted out.

    Mrs. Obama is EXACTLY where she needs to be. Have you never paid attention to first ladies before?

    Nancy Reagan and "Just say no"? How about every other first lady? They ALL go to stuff like this. Quite often actually. How well they do it depends on the person.

    So far I think I like Michelle.

    February 4, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  17. Barack The Boat Baby

    Not crazy about her, she's okay. But her husband is a hottie.

    February 4, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  18. Caligirl

    Boston Irish February 4th, 2009 4:56 pm ET

    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.

    Boston Irish,

    You have taken her comment out of context.

    February 4, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  19. EC

    WONDERFUL, thank you First Lady Michele. Its such a delight to see our First Couple engaged and connected in Washington.

    Don't pay any attention to all those "haters", that's all they seem to be focused on is "negativity", misery loves company,.

    February 4, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  20. Caligirl

    Ellen Perkins February 4th, 2009 4:59 pm ET

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

    Boy Ellen, a bit shallow aren't you?

    February 4, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  21. Caligirl

    Annie the Democrat February 4th, 2009 5:39 pm ET

    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.


    The first lady has political responsibilities; wheather you dumb as.s is aware of this fact or not is irrelevant.

    February 4, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  22. Caligirl

    Margo, FL February 4th, 2009 6:10 pm ET

    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.


    Are you stuck at home and feeling somewhat bitter about it?

    February 4, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  23. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Its time for them to go. Watch the investors to go elsewhere. Smart leaders don't play with fire.

    February 4, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  24. Priscilla

    The Obamas really do care about the welfare of our country and all Americans. Finally, a presidential team who is reaching out and getthing things done for hurting Americans all over this country. I salute them!

    February 4, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. DG

    I watched Michele on tv today and my heart went out to her. She and President Obama want so badly to help the American people. I think they will. Both of them are smart, young people with good hearts. They each have kind eyes. I just hope they don't give up on us. It would be so easy for them to throw in the towel. But they won't because they aren't quitters. I wish the two of them much success. We need them much more than they need us.

    February 4, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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