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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Obama Praises 'Smart' Feds, Says Few Are 'Slugs'

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In what he may have thought were private remarks to a group of campaign donors last night, President Obama made some interesting comments about federal employees, according to CBS News' Mark Knoller, who listened in on an audio feed of the address.

"What's striking when you enter into the federal government is how generally smart and dedicated people are," Obama said, according to Knoller's report. The president did say that some employees "are slugs and not trying to do their job. But that's true of any large institution."

"Generally speaking," Knoller reported, Obama "said he would put up federal workers against any workers in the private sector."

Obama also lamented the state of federal information technology, saying "our IT purchasing is horrible."

"I always thought I was gonna have like really cool phones and stuff," the president said, but it turned out "we can't get our phones to work."

(Hat tip: Ed O'Keefe, Washington Post)

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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