the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the First Lady at Run Across America at the White House

4:02 P.M. EDT

      MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you, Kelly.  Thank you, Dean.  Welcome to the White House.  (Applause.)  How many of you have been this close to the White House?  Pretty cool, huh?  Well, let me tell you it is a pleasure to see all of you here today.  And you’re eating apples.  It’s terrific.

      But one thing that I want to say -- and I want you all to listen, because given the recent things that have been going on, before we start I just wanted to say that looking out at all of you beautiful children, I can’t help but think of all the children and all the families affected the September 11 tragedy nearly 10 years ago.  And they are all very much in our thoughts and our prayers, and we have to keep thinking about them, okay?  You promise you’ll send prayers out?

      CHILDREN:  Yes!

      MRS. OBAMA:  All right.  Well, I want to just start by thanking Dean and Kelly for bringing you all here today.  This is just exciting for me.  I was looking forward to having you guys here all day today.  Let’s give them a round of applause.  (Applause.)

      I also want to thank all of you kids.  Do I have some kids from Thompson Elementary School here?  Woo, let’s hear it!  (Applause.)

      How about Ross Elementary School?  (Applause.)

      So is it true that you all ran a mile and a half to come to the White House?  Is that true?

      CHILDREN:  Yes!

      MRS. OBAMA:  Did everybody run, or did somebody walk?  You all -- you all ran the whole way?  Did you run in the streets?

      CHILDREN:  Yes!

      MRS. OBAMA:  Were people yelling and cheering for you while you were running?

      CHILDREN:  Yes!

      MRS. OBAMA:  That's good, because I want you to know that I’m proud of you all.  I know that Dean and Kelly are proud of you all.  I know that my husband, the President, is proud of you all.  He’s in the Oval Office working right now, but he knows you’re here, and he told me to tell you to keep it up.  He’s proud of you, too.

      And as you all know, Dean has run all the way across the entire country.  (Applause.)  I mean, that's why he’s so tan.  (Laughter.)  All the way from California.  He’s been running 40 to 50 miles a day for a total of nearly 3,000 miles.  Whoa.

      MR. KARNAZES:  And still alive.

      MRS. OBAMA:  And still alive.   But Dean hasn’t just been doing this by himself.  He hasn’t been alone.  He’s been with kids like you and folks all across the country who have been joining him along these runs.  And he’s doing it for a reason.  It’s because Dean wants to inspire kids and all Americans everywhere to do just what all of you did today.  He wants everyone to get out and -- what?  Get moving!  Get moving!  He wants you to run, he wants you to walk, he wants you to jump outside instead of being cooped up inside in front of the TV playing videogames.  I mean, videogames are fun, but isn’t it more fun to be out here?

      CHILDREN:  Yes!

      MRS. OBAMA:  I mean, if you all weren’t running, you wouldn’t be sitting in front of the White House eating fresh apples, drinking water, if you were sitting, watching TV.  What is better than this?  Nothing!

      And that's why I want both of you all -- all of you all to know that's why we started "Let's Move.”  And "Let's Move" is one of my passions because I’m not just the First Lady, but I’m a mom.  I’ve got two beautiful little girls -- well, they’re not so little anymore -- Malia and Sasha -- and I want all the kids around this country to be healthy and to move and get the kind of exercise and to eat right.  That's what this is all about, to make sure that we’re making sure that all of you are healthy and happy.  That's what "Let's Move" is all about.

      So I wanted to be here to welcome you on this leg of Dean’s journey.  And I want kids everywhere to look at Dean as an example.  And I want them to think -- and this is something that Dean said -- if Dean can run all the way across the country, then I want you to think, as kids, as Dean would say, that you can at least walk a mile, maybe run, you can go outside and play, you can jump, you can do whatever.  If he can do all of that, right, you can do a little something to keep yourselves moving, right?

      CHILDREN:  Yes.

      MRS. OBAMA:  You can do a little something.  And running isn’t the only way to get exercise.  You can dance.  You can play games.  Who likes sports here?  Who plays sports?  So you guys can be role models just like Dean.  All right?

      Now, when you leave here, I want you to keep it going.  I want you to take your experience back to your schools, back to your neighborhoods, back to your families.  And what are you going to tell people to do?

      CHILDREN:  Exercise!

      MRS. OBAMA:  Exercise!  Eat healthy!  What else?  Keep moving!

      So I am really proud of you all.  This has been an exciting day for us.  I hope it’s been for you.  And we brought a very special guest to come and see you all.  It’s Bo!  (Applause.)

                        END              4:07 P.M. EDT