The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008



Sebelius Confirmed as Secretary of HHS

Newly confirmed Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

Updated 6:26 p.m.
By Shailagh Murray
The Senate approved the nomination of Kathleen Sebelius to head the Department of Health and Human Services, filling the final seat in President Obama's Cabinet on the eve of his 100th day in office.

Democrats had sought a quick vote on the Kansas governor as Congress moves ahead with health-care reform this summer, but Republicans slowed Sebelius's advancement because of her record in favor of abortion rights. GOP procedural objections faded with the recent outbreak of swine flu and the threat of a global pandemic. Sebelius was confirmed by a 65-31 vote this afternoon.

"It is essential for the health of the nation that President Obama has in place, and the nation has in place, a strong secretary of HHS to make sure our federal efforts on this potential pandemic are able to coordinate," said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).

Sebelius, 60, was a prominent early Obama supporter who was elected twice in a conservative heartland state. Democratic leaders were openly courting the popular governor, who is limited by Kansas law to two terms, to run for the Senate in 2010 to succeed conservative GOP Sen. Sam Brownback, who has entered the race to succeed Sebelius. But Sebelius accepted the HHS post after former senator Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) withdrew from consideration following questions about his tax returns.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who is leading the Senate's health-care reform effort, cited Sebelius's success in a Republican state as vital experience to building support for the legislation across party lines. "Governor Sebelius' record shows that she approaches problems from all sides. She is prepared to try creative solutions. She is forward-thinking. She's willing to work with everyone," Baucus said on the Senate floor.

But Republicans criticized the governor's support for abortion rights and her ties to a Wichita doctor who performs abortions and who has contributed to her political campaigns. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) [fixed; thanks, nero2! -- ed.] called Sebelius's record on the issue "a fatal character flaw that should have disqualified her" from the HHS job.

Brownback, an ardent opponent of abortion right, supported Sebelius's nomination, as did Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), a Republican who announced earlier today that he was becoming a Democrat.

Posted at 6:29 PM ET on Apr 28, 2009  | Category:  Cabinet
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Note To Republicans:
We found these to be very effective over the last 8 years.

1: See if you can get Obama to start a war and get a bunch of people killed for no particular reason.

2: Make sure his political contributors and the Vice Presidents old company make windfall profits as a result. I'm not sure how you're going to get AMTRAK to profit from war...but honestly, that's your problem, figure it out.

3: See if you can get him to hire an Attorney General who takes the fifth or "can't recall" every time he's questioned by congress.

4: It also helps if Obama suspends a raft of constitutional rights for citizens and then dabbles in torture a bit.

5: See if you can get Delaware to threaten to secede. It's a long shot, but I think it's you best hope. Nothing says "nut"quite like a US Governor talking about re-fighting the civil war.

6: Muzzle every Republican south of the Mason Dixon line. People are starting to re-associate southern drawls with stupidity. Since your mostly a southern party, that's really bad for your. Get them to put a cork in it.

Good luck
A liberal who votes mostly with the Dems.

Posted by: dijetlo | April 29, 2009 10:39 AM

I'm actually surprised the the Post is infected with this insultingly low level of dialogue. I'm sure you hope for better as this is hardly useful or helpful.

We know that these people hate the idea of abortion and don't care how ugly or illiterate their rants are to impose their view on women all over the world, but we know that everywhere they win women die from illegal abortions. That is why many of us have resisted their primitive religious fanaticism for over thirty years...

You don't get it boys, It's not your decision to make. This is a free country, that's why you get to talk nonsense and keep your guns. Can't have it both ways. The question is "Who decides?" The answer is: "Unless you're pregnant, it's not you." Get over it... or don't. It doesn't much matter what you say or think. It's a done deal here in free country country... Of course, there are places where guys like you still rule. I've been to a bunch of them. They are mostly dirty, dusty and dangerous but, if you want to have the power that you so obviously need, you might try one of'em out. If you've got the guts... Maybe they won't kill you before they realize you fit right in.

Posted by: JoeyTranchina | April 29, 2009 12:46 AM

You don't have to read too many of these comments to realize that the Republican morons in Congress represent their constituency pretty well.

Posted by: nodebris | April 29, 2009 12:06 AM

Ah, the usual maturity from our GOP troll friends. I think the Governor looks quite good for her age, not that that's relevant.

"If the history in her resume is not a medical doctor or in the medical field, but is more similar to Emanuel's for his post, then No No No , absolutely not."

How is Emanuel not qualified to be White House Chief of Staff?

Anyway, being a doctor isn't really all that pertinent to HHS, strange as it sounds; you've already got the Surgeon General for the top-ranking medical expert. HHS Secretary is a chief bureaucrat and political wheeler-dealer; in this case, she'll be on point in passing major health reform.

Posted by: SeanC1 | April 28, 2009 10:29 PM

This Gov. Syphillus is one ugly looking libtard.
I love this from hotrodkitty:
After living under her reign as Kansas governor for almost 8 yrs., I can tell you, we don't need this woman in D.C. She is not a doctor nor does she know anything about healthcare. Why Obama chose her is beyond me, unless it's the way she fawned all over him during his campaign.

You know why: Out of a million "slurpers" her slurp was extra special. Slurp, slurp...yes we can...swallow. Plus she probably hasn't paid taxes for years, which is an Oduma admin requirement.

And then idiot tweldy says:
Why is it that an alarming number of anti-Obama posts either contain messages in all caps or practice juvenile name calling? Why would any reasonable adult care what a person who behaves in this fashion says?

Good question. Your fellow deranged idiot liberals did this for 8 years. Now, there is actually someone dumber than GWB and 20 times worse for our country. Your last sentence sounds so elitist...must be an urban libdiot. In the meantime, do humanity a favor...hold your breath permanently and help lower the carbon footprint.

Posted by: 65apr | April 28, 2009 9:15 PM

God, what an ugly woman.

Posted by: FridayKnight | April 28, 2009 8:55 PM

God, what an ugly woman.

Posted by: FridayKnight | April 28, 2009 8:49 PM

Hey, has anyone lobbed a fetus into this conversation yet? Just wondering, because there's a quota per topic. Here ya go: Fetus!

Carry on.

Posted by: HarrisTheYounger | April 28, 2009 8:34 PM

Last time I checked, it was still legal for a woman to exercise control over her own body and terminate a pregnancy. Senator Coburn needs to be reminded that the majority of people in this country support an individual woman's right to decide. Opposing Sebelius over this issue was ridiculous.

Posted by: marSF | April 28, 2009 8:02 PM

always enough time to report republican accusations, never enough time to find out whether they are true. typically worthless "journalizm" by ms murray.

Posted by: miket000 | April 28, 2009 7:59 PM

That's great - The Republicans held up her confirmation for no reason until a crisis starts so she has to hit the grown not just running but hitting the ground going 60 miles an hour. Just like how Bush left a pile of mess for Obama. Is that the GOP - make a mess and then let somebody else worry about it.

Posted by: dre7861 | April 28, 2009 7:53 PM

Perfect. We are entering the Age of Reason (quote Thomas Paine our great founding father). We have a smart, wise and highly educated woman to head the HHS. This person backs science as a critical success factor and key competency for servicing the health of our citizens, being globally competitive (the best in the world!!!), treating human ailments and discovering cause and new treatments. After the last eight years of Bush "no-nothing" politicizing of science (climate change, environmental protection, human disease and women's health, disease research with stem cells), we move forward with our head's held tall in the halls of global science and ethics let loose from corner-case religious fanatics. These fanatics argue faith and faith cannot be a question of right or wrong or fact or truth.

Faith is a personal held belief and isn't related to reason, fact, or truth. Everyone has the freedom to practice their own religion- their own faith. Reason, however, is the social practice in the public commons. It is with reason, fact, truth, and science that we can debate and move forward. We are an Age of Reason (quote Thomas Paine our great founding father). Noone can argue about faith with a conclusion that is universal. It is what it is.

Posted by: lucy2008 | April 28, 2009 7:23 PM

Obama "removed the CEO of GM because he wouldn't play ball" ?

How about "asked the overpaid Idiot who oversaw GM's rapid decline to step down".

Get a clue, MORAN

Posted by: marSF | April 28, 2009 7:13 PM

After living under her reign as Kansas governor for almost 8 yrs., I can tell you, we don't need this woman in D.C. She is not a doctor nor does she know anything about healthcare. Why Obama chose her is beyond me, unless it's the way she fawned all over him during his campaign.

Posted by: hotrodkitty | April 28, 2009 7:11 PM

In the penultimate paragraph, Sen. Tom Coburn is not a Democrat, he's a Republican.

Posted by: nero2 | April 28, 2009 7:08 PM

Fascism is when business controls gov't.

Posted by: pca6661 | April 28, 2009 7:08 PM

Howard Dean was the right person for this job. Why is every Czar resume all wrong for their position?

Napolitano should be forced out as Homeland defense, and Dean placed instead.

Posted by: dottydo | April 28, 2009 7:04 PM

BCamp55 wrote:

"Is it a prerequisite that all who are interested in screwing this country up along with Obozzo be unqualified and tax cheats."

Do you mean like Joe "The (unlicensed) Plumber"???

Posted by: Tomcat3 | April 28, 2009 7:02 PM

I do not know of anyone who says "Gee, I think it would be fun to go have an abortion today". The ones who are promoting it are the ones who deny family planning services like sex education. They are the ones who think abstinence-only works.

There is no such thing as "pro-abortion", and there is no such thing as "pro-life", it should be named "pro-birth".

Pro-birthers don't seem to be to concerned with born or unborn Iraqi lives.

Posted by: JRM2 | April 28, 2009 6:48 PM

Wahoobear writes......GOP fascists writing here........
Typical left wing ignoramus. One of the primary tenants of fascism is the control of the business sector by government. You know, like when Obummer, the imbecile who has never had a job in his life, removed the CEO of GM because he wouldn't play ball.

How is expecting someone who is going to take a job to have experience in what they're to be doing and to have paid their taxes a form of fascism you socialist moron?

Posted by: Bcamp55 | April 28, 2009 3:54 PM

Why is it that an alarming number of anti-Obama posts either contain messages in all caps or practice juvenile name calling? Why would any reasonable adult care what a person who behaves in this fashion says?

Posted by: tweldy | April 28, 2009 3:02 PM

Like Bush's appointees Gov Thompson and Gov Levitt had any better qualifications than Gov. Sebelius. But its fascinating to see that the GOP facists writing here have decided that the law of the U.S. - that arbortion is a woman's choice - have decided that supporting the law is wrong and disqualifies a candidate for this office (or any office?). The more Limbaugh, Cheney, and Bozo the Clown run the GOP show the faster it sinks. Meanwhile, the nation faces a real threat of an epidemic and GOP pundits called Obama's $900 million towards biologic threats a waste. Bye, bye Right-wing nut cases. And stop the moronic jibberish in describing President Obama - it shows your intelligence level and your leadership qualities - or do you still do darky imitations to entertain your Republican friends?

Posted by: Wahoobear | April 28, 2009 3:02 PM

The Palin-ites are on the Rant again, with more of the same obstruction, then expecting a different outcome. Being for or against abortion is not the issue; because, it is so emotional, especially as a determining factor to Public Office. Kathleen Sebelius has qualified for High Public Office and for some Palin-ite to say she is for abortion without proof is unconstitutional. The constitution is a nusiance for immature, delusional Rantters. Senator Arlen Spector would agree. Obstructionist like these Palin-intes don't stand for anything in the Obama Administration (America), this is why they fall for every obstruction ploy.

Posted by: dmscontractor | April 28, 2009 2:05 PM

Is it a prerequisite that all who are interested in screwing this country up along with Obozzo be unqualified and tax cheats.

If Obysmal thought it was important to fill the office quickly, maybe he should have:
1) Considered someone with at least 3 months actual experience since he can't point to campaigning as "experience" in her case,

2) Found one of the apparently very few libtartds who actually pay their share of taxes required to support their socialist, pork-aholic tendencies,

3) Found a candidate whose solution to an inconvenient truth is NOT piercing an unborn child's skull and sucking its brains out to induce death allowing for a delivery of a "dead" child to immediately follow - known as an abortion for you pro public education Libtards.

Posted by: Bcamp55 | April 28, 2009 1:00 PM






Posted by: snorfy | April 28, 2009 12:26 PM

The party of NO! will do anything to keep government from working effectively. It's against their ideology. Katrina? Perfect government fails, can't trust it. Health Department stopping epidemics? No way!! Government is the problem, can't be the solution. They wanted government to fail so badly, they hired ex-drunk frat boy GW to trash the place and let his rich friends walk away with the treasury.

They want to keep their money, buy a gun, hole up in their house, pray the epidemic doesn't reach them and shoot at anyone who comes near them.

Why do they hate America??

Posted by: thebobbob | April 28, 2009 12:19 PM

If Kathleen Sebelius amounts to another Janet Napolitano, then No No No absolutely not.

If her talents for her position are equal to Timmy "al capone" Geithner's for his , then NO NO NO, absolutely not.

If the history in her resume is not a medical doctor or in the medical field, but is more similar to Emanuel's for his post, then No No No , absolutely not.

This appointment should be about the people's health and safety, not a cheezy political favor for yet another unqualified resume (which has become the noteable deficit of this entire administration top to bottom).

Howard Dean is much more qualified for this post.

Posted by: dottydo | April 28, 2009 12:18 PM

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