Things got rowdy at HUD on Thursday

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is, apparently, one of the government's rowdier agencies.

President Obama paid a visit to HUD on Thursday afternoon, where he lavished praise on newly sworn-in Secretary Julian Castro and outgoing head Shaun Donovan, who was confirmed as the head of the White House Office of Management and Budget this month.

The praise for both men, however, was difficult to hear at times. HUD employees went nuts for the president, making the event feel more like a campaign event than a trip down the street.

Obama had to wait at least 20 seconds to speak after being introduced because people just kept screaming.

"Clearly, HUD has the rowdiest employees," Obama said, which just caused the crowd to get more raucous.

The president said Donovan told him people would have been even more excited if first lady Michelle Obama had showed up.

"I hear that everywhere I go," Obama said. "There’s no reason to remind me, to rub it in. That's why I married her. To improve the gene pool."


Julian Castro, secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development, looks on as President Obama speaks to HUD employees  on July 31. (Andrew Harrer/EPA)

Obama of course had nice things to say about Donovan, whom Obama also called a "a geek, he’s a wonk," though we think he meant that in a good way. Castro, Obama said, is about "action, not talk," and possesses "energy and drive." Plus, Obama said, "he’s young, he’s good-looking, he talks good — you can't let him down."

Obama told employees it is a "privilege" and an "honor" to work in government.

"I tell folks, I’ve now been president for more than five and a half years, and I’ve got two and a half years left, and I want to squeeze every single day — I want to squeeze as much out of every single day," he said. "This is not just a job, this is a privilege that we have."

And apparently Obama wasn't the only rock star there. Donovan stood at the front of the room with a huge grin on his face, doling out high-fives and handshakes to employees.

Katie Zezima covers the White House for Post Politics and The Fix.
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