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Image: Michelle Obama greeting tourists in the White House
Chuck Kennedy  /  The White House
Michelle Obama surprised tourists at the White House Thursday, greeting more than 500 people.
TODAY staff and wire
updated 2/16/2012 6:39:53 PM ET 2012-02-16T23:39:53

School kids visiting the White House got a brief scare when Michelle Obama popped up and warned them there would be a 50-question test at the end of their tour.

With a straight face she warned the youngsters: "You don't get out of the house unless you pass it." But then she quickly reassured them: "I'm kidding."

Slideshow: Michelle Obama's effortless style (on this page)

The first lady, with dog Bo, set up an informal receiving line Thursday, dispensing hugs and handshakes to startled visitors on the morning tour.

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This is the fourth time she's greeted tour visitors in this manner, according to the first lady's press secretary Hannah August.

August told TODAY.com that Mrs. Obama greeted more than 500 people in a little over an hour.

Story: Michelle Obama wears $39.99 Jason Wu for Target dress

When one man told her it was a wonderful home, the first lady agreed, adding jokingly, "We try to keep it up. There's a lot of vacuuming, dusting."

She chatted about fashion, dogs, eating vegetables and more, with surprised visitors.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive

Video: First lady beats Jimmy Fallon in fitness face-off

  1. Closed captioning of: First lady beats Jimmy Fallon in fitness face-off

    >>> the first lady is proving to be unbeatable. late night host jimmy fallon brought spandex to the white house despite disapproving looks from the first dog and mrs. obama herself. after doing push-ups, twirling hula hoops , hurling dodgeballs and pulling through a tug of war , the first lady won the face-off in a dramatic to the second potato sack race . the fun was all part of michelle obama 's let's move fitness campaign. cue " chariots of fire ." 7:18. back to ann,

Photos: Michelle Obama’s effortless style

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  1. Michelle Obama's effortless style

    The first lady looks as sophisticated in designer dresses as she does in outfits from J. Crew. Take a look at her great style:

    First lady Michelle Obama and her mother Marian Robinson visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at the Diaoyutai State guest house on March 21, 2014 in Beijing, China. (Andy Wong / Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Ping-pong fun

    Michelle Obama plays table tennis at the Beijing Normal School, a school that prepares students to attend colleges overseas, in Beijing, China on March 21, 2014. (Andy Wong / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Welcome to China

    Michelle Obama waves as she and her daughter Sasha leave their plane at Capital International Airport in Beijing on March 20, 2014. (Alexander F. Yuan / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Green day

    Vice president Joe Biden, first lady Michelle Obama, and Irish Prime Mininster Enda Kenny's wife Fionnuala O'Kelly smile during a St. Patrick's Day reception in the East Room of the White House on March 14, 2014. (Ron Sachs / Pool / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. We're green with envy

    Kermit the Frog is welcomed by Michelle Obama at a screening of Disney's "Muppets Most Wanted" on March 12, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Win Mcnamee / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Seeking shades

    President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama make their way to board Air Force One before departing from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Homestead, Florida on March 9, 2014. (Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Pretty prints

    Michelle Obama delivers remarks during s workshop titled "I'm Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul" with (L-R) Grammy Museum Executive Director Robert Santelli, and music artists Melissa Etheridge, Janelle Monae and Patti LaBelle in the State Dining Room at the White House March 6, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Jump to it

    Michelle Obama sports a chic black jumpsuit during an interview with Jimmy Fallon on Feb. 20, 2014. (NBC; Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Pretty as a painting

    Michelle Obama, in a bold print skirt, is escorted by Rose Cameron, CEO and founder of WAT-AAH!, a line of bottled water targeted to kids and teens, as they view the "Taking Back the Streets" art exhibit at the New Museum in New York on Feb. 20. (Richard Drew / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Snow bunny

    Michelle Obama skis at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colo. on Feb. 15. This is the third year in a row that Michelle Obama has vacationed in Aspen over the long President's Day weekend. (Chris Council / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Ultimate elegance

    President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, in a dramatic Carolina Herrera ball gown, arrive at a state dinner at the White House on Feb. 11. The dress featured a sheer black top with hand-embroidered and beaded appliques and sleeves that dipped just below the first lady's elbows. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Lady in red

    First lady Michelle Obama, French President Francois Hollande, and President Barack Obama wave at the balcony of the White House on Feb. 11. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Deep green

    Michelle Obama, in a hunter green Azzedine Alaïa dress, waves next to U.S. Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg, who was injured while serving in Afghanistan, prior to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech in Washington on Jan. 28, 2014. (Joshua Roberts / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Vision in blue

    First Lady Michelle Obama smiles as she listens to President Barack Obama speak at an event on expanding college opportunity in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington on Jan. 16, 2014. (Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Bold bling

    Michelle Obama wore a festive lucite necklace while speaking about education in underserved communities in the State Dining Room following a screening of the movie "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete" at the White House on Jan. 15, 2014. (Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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