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Michelle Obama makes foray into public policy as First Lady

world Updated: Feb 03, 2009 13:47 IST

Making her foray into public policy advocacy as the US First Lady, Michelle Obama has paid a trip to the Department of Education, talking about the "hard work" ahead and pitching for her husband's ambitious economic stimulus package.

The wife of US President Barack Obama said it was the "first stop" on a planned trip of "agencies throughout this administration" to learn, listen and take information back.

Addressing some 350 people at the Department, which White House officials said is part of her "get to know" Washington tour, the First Lady said: "Truthfully, my task here is to say thank you and roll up your sleeves, because we have a lot of work to do."

Wearing a dark slacks and a dark cardigan with a silver belt at waist, Michelle Obama said: "The Department of Education is going to be at the forefront of many of the things that we have to do in this administration."

Making a pitch for the economic stimulus package, Obama said it will prevent teacher layoffs, increase grants and preserve early childhood programmes.

"With these investments we're going to create good jobs, as we renovate and modernise more than 10,000 schools and improve the learning environment for about five million children across this country. We'll be able to increase Pell grants and make college more affordable for seven million students, and give nearly four million students tax credits for tuition," she said amidst applause.