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Once bumped by Barack, Michelle Obama continues gratitude tour

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First Lady Michelle Obama was driven the two blocks from the White House to the Veterans Affairs Department Tuesday morning to continue her gratitude tour of federal operations.

The brief ride across Lafayette Park was the 12th time Mrs. Obama has traveled to meet with federal workers at cabinet level departments, according to press secretary Katie McCormick Lelyveld. There are 15 executive departments.

“One of the reasons why I do this is because so often federal employees feel under-appreciated. You often get a lot of the blame but sometimes none of the thanks. And my simple job is to say thank you because the job that you do is a big one,” Mrs. Obama said. She spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of roughly 125 or so at a conference center on the second floor of the VA building. Earlier she met with 300 VA workers in an overflow location.

A trip postponed

In introducing the First lady, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki mentioned that an earlier scheduled visit by Mrs. Obama was postponed so the President himself could call on the VA’s workers in March. “A few of you were mildly disappointed when the president came. I know that because some of you mentioned that,” said Secretary Shinseki, a retired Army Chief of Staff.


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