A rough, tough day on Capitol Hill Wednesday for Kathleen Sebelius:
• “You deserve better. I apologize. I'm accountable to you for fixing these problems.” — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in congressional testimony Wednesday.
Apologizing was the only logical step Sebelius could take Wednesday, and it seemed to do little good. As she testified, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, a Republican, pointed to a screen in the hearing room that flashed on and showed that the Affordable Care Act website was down at the moment. No visual could have said more.
• “Whatever.” — Sebelius responding to repeated questions about whether President Barack Obama should be seen as responsible for Affordable Care Act problems.
The remark came 2 1/2 hours into her grueling testimony before a GOP-led congressional committee. She followed up the answer by saying, “He is the President. He is responsible for government programs.” Know this about Sebelius: She does not suffer fools. So those of us who have covered her for years can only imagine how painful the past couple of weeks have been for her as she twists in the D.C. breeze.
• “I'm not happy about it.” — President Barack Obama talking about the ongoing problems with his signature domestic achievement.
How could he be? The clock is now ticking on Sebelius’ tenure with some insiders saying she’ll linger into next year. We’ll see.
• “I’ll be a full-time secretary of state.” — former state Sen. Jean Schodorf of Wichita kicking off her Democratic campaign against incumbent Republican Kris Kobach.
Schodorf wasted little time taking a dig at Kobach, who’s been criticized for doing private legal work on immigration during his tenure. Schodorf, a former Republican turned Democrat for this race, has the right profile to offer Kobach a competitive race. Now, can she raise the money?
• “Safety is our top priority, and that means requiring offenders to participate in activities that keep them away from temptation on Halloween while helping them accomplish their rehabilitation goals.” — Lisa Fleming of Johnson County Court Services announcing that all convicted sex offenders must attend a 6-9 p.m. training on Halloween eve to keep them off the streets.
This is the program’s fifth year of mandatory Halloween training events, and Fleming calls it a “win-win” for all involved.