The Washington Times - July 9, 2013, 03:42PM

With the White House closed to the public, first lady Michelle Obama joked with some lucky children who were her guests at a luncheon Tuesday that coming to the White House is a “hassle.”

“I know you’ve been waiting patiently,” Mrs. Obama told the children who were gathered for a “Kids’ State Lunch” in the State Dining Room. “Coming to the White House, it’s a big hassle, isn’t it?”

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She was apparently referring to the standard security procedures for invited guests. The White House has been closed to public tours since March, with the administration citing the need to save on Secret Service expenses in light of the “sequestration” budget cuts.

Mrs. Obama hosted the second annual event for 54 children who won a contest for creating healthy recipes. They represented all 50 states, the District, and three territories, and dined on a healthy lunch that included spring rolls.
President Obama made a surprise visit to the event, telling the children he admired their healthy eating habits and saying that he didn’t like vegetables as a child.

“My family, when they cooked vegetables they would just boil them,” Mr. Obama said. “And they’d get all soft and mushy, and nobody wanted to eat a pea or a Brussels sprout because they tasted horrible because they were all mush. And broccoli, it would be all mushy. And now I actually like vegetables because they’re prepared right.”

A child who was also serving as a journalist for the event asked the president what it’s like to live in the White House.

“Upstairs, it’s just like your house,” the president replied, according to a pool reporter who attended the event.