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Welcome aboard: Obama lavishes praise on Castro

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 31, 2014 at 4:28 pm •  Published: July 31, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — There were all the trappings of a campaign endorsement rally: the cheering crowds, the American flags, and the sitting president heaping praise on a fellow Democrat. All that was missing was the campaign.

Three days after new Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro was sworn in, President Barack Obama paid a rare visit Thursday to the agency's colossal concrete headquarters to welcome Castro aboard. In gushing terms, Obama lavished admiration on the fresh-faced former mayor who Democrats are already eyeing as a potential vice presidential candidate in 2016.

"He's young, he's good-looking, he talks good. You can't let him down," Obama told HUD workers gathered for the presidential visit, who laughed and cheered so loudly that Obama declared them the "rowdiest employees" in the federal government.

It's rare for the president to personally and publicly welcome a new Cabinet secretary to the job. Typically, Obama appears with a candidate at the White House and vouches for their credentials during a personnel announcement, then the new hire is sworn in privately after being confirmed by the Senate. Castro was sworn in on Monday in a brief, closed-door ceremony.

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