San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, President Obama's pick to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has often been compared to Obama in his earlier years: a young, bright, telegenic "rising star" from a minority group vital to the Democratic coalition, who first gained national exposure with a speech to his party's national convention. On Friday, when Obama formally announced Castro's nomination, the president himself appeared to sign on to the comparison.

"The first time most Americans heard this man speak is when he gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention almost two years ago," Obama said. "And they saw this young guy, a pretty good speaker, not bad-looking, talk about how America is the only place where his story could even be possible. And I watched, and I thought, 'That's not bad.' "

The crowd in the White House State Dining Room got the joke and laughed along with the president. And for Republicans who have sometimes marveled at the president's ability to make everything about himself — well, they probably laughed, too, but not for the same reasons.