October 30th, 2013
01:54 PM ET
6 months ago

Frustrated Sebelius to questioner: 'Whatever'

Washington (CNN) - She had been in the congressional hot seat for two and a half hours. And many Republicans had been waiting just as long to ask her questions.

When Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Mississippi, got his chance, he pounded away at Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hard enough to elicit a rare, audible sign of frustration from her.

Sebelius blurted out a word common to exasperated teenagers and zen masters alike, "whatever."

Is it really 'illegal' for Sebelius to buy Obamacare?

It came after Harper repeatedly asked if President Barack Obama should be seen as responsible for the HealthCare.gov problems.

The first two times, Sebelius answered that she was responsible for the debacle, that it was her job.

And so Harper, asked a final and third time: "It is the President's ultimate responsibility, correct?"

Sebelius gestured toward him and the search for words found only frustration.

"You clearly, uh," (then a small pause, followed by), "whatever."

The Secretary put both her hands in the air, briefly, then resumed.

"He is the President. He is responsible for government programs," she concluded.


Filed under: Kathleen Sebelius
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. bob

    I'd also note that, here in California, I called the Call Center, got in on the first try, waited less than 10 minutes to talk to a person, and was done with the process in 25 minutes. It really is that easy....

    October 30, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  2. Mark

    I don't care who is asking the questions...REGARDLESS, the questions SHOULD be asked. The PRESIDENT is at fault and his administration has repeatedly lied to the general public. This isn't a political game, this Presenident of ours needs to throw in the white towel and walk away from his post.

    October 30, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. OrmondGeorge

    An atomic sphincter makes an unsupportable allegation, framed in a "when did you stop beating your wife" form THEN REFUSES to allow her to answer, forcefully talking over her.

    "Whatever" was probably the most polite thing she could have said – not that he heard her as he blabbed on acting as if the questions were more important than any answer she might give.

    I would have been standing on the table screaming at him to engage in self intercourse had it been me in her place

    October 30, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. just saying

    Sniffit
    --
    "Had we had single-payer system–there would have been too much crowd in Hospitals,"
    --
    I've got news for you: this system is going to create pressure for hospitals and medical personnel as well. It will likely be a little frustrating at first, BUT it will create pressure and DEMAND on the industry (including the education component) to adapt and create more new professionals and more new centers where services can be provided, be they clinics or full blown hospitals. It will create DEMAND for more medical devices, pharmaceuticals and other goods used in the provision of medical services. In the long run, that's a VERY good thing. DEMAND SPURS ECONOMIC GROWTH AND INNOVATION, NOT SUPPLY.
    --

    only problem is that it may take years or decades and thousands if not millions will die waiting for treatment. who needs death panels when you have death waiting rooms?! thanks obamacare.

    October 30, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. just asking

    nwcommenter
    The GOP asked derogatory, demeaning stupid questions....
    -–

    asking who is responsible for a billion dollar disaster is stupid? only for liberals i guess.

    October 30, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. A True Conservative

    @Sniffit – are you on the payroll for Obama? You certainly seem to spend a great deal of time here commenting.....

    October 30, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. Jeff in Virginia

    Clearly, "the buck stops over there" with this Administration.

    October 30, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. roger

    Pompous? Arrogant? Sounds like you're talking about the current administration. People who don't believe that they're accountable to us for what they do. That my dear moronic friend is pompous and arrogant.

    October 30, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The GOP asked derogatory, demeaning stupid questions.... and at the same time being pompous and arrogant.... The GOP should be ashamed of itself..."

    Well, to give them credit, GOPers treat ALL Americans not on their side with similar distaste and condescension. It makes them feel all superior and such like.

    To quote Kathleen Sebelius: Whatever (makes their day). I concur with her.

    October 30, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. Sandy

    His questions were legit. Her response was unprofessional and quite telling. Must be hard for her to continue to cover for Obama.

    October 30, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. rs

    just asking

    nwcommenter
    The GOP asked derogatory, demeaning stupid questions....
    -–

    asking who is responsible for a billion dollar disaster is stupid? only for liberals i guess.
    -----------
    And who's disaster of a couple of weeks ago cost 24 times that much and affected millions of lives? Why wouldn't that include today's inquistors?

    October 30, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  12. just asking

    Rudy NYC
    And so Harper, asked a final and third time: "It is the President's ultimate responsibility, correct?"
    ---–
    Someone should point out to Mr. Harper that they are all responsible, and it is the Congress that is ultimately responsible, not the POTUS. It is the Congress who has the "ultimate resposibility" for government oversight, not the President.
    ---–

    wrong as usual rudy. they are not all responsible. democrats and democrats alone voted for forcing this disaster on the country. it is democrats that are ultimately responsible for their actions and votes and incompetence. the president lied through his teeth for years to the american people about this travesty that bears his name. he is very much responsible for this as he lied to us all then signed it into law. and the house is performing oversight which obama and his failed administration has fought every single step of the way. withholding information, denying witnesses, stonewalling, claiming executive privilege when none exists, etc.

    this whole disaster should show the country what the democrats and obama are all about. lies, lies, lies and then try to blame others for their lies and incompetence.

    October 30, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "only problem is that it may take years or decades and thousands if not millions will die waiting for treatment. who needs death panels when you have death waiting rooms?! thanks obamacare."

    Ridiculous hyperbole. Would you like to add something scary about fluoride in the drinking water?

    40,000 die each year for lack of insurance and access to medical care. Fact: That won't go up by providing people with insurance.

    October 30, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  14. S. B. Stein

    The response should have been: Just as you and the rest of the Congress is supposed to get a budget passed. Where were you when that should have been done?"

    October 30, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Laughing at Libs

    You libs STILL got your head in the sand, don't you? I get it. It's a pride issue. You don't want to admit that you have been punked. Just remember-it's gonna get a whole lot worse. This isn't even the tip of the iceberg with this obummercare fiasco. As it unfolds, keep in the mind that you voted for this, so ultimately you are responsible. Enjoy the fall.

    October 30, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. Data Driven

    @A True Conservative,

    "Good to see DataDriven still posting – now I'm convinced he is posting from the White House basement!"

    Good to see you back, too! You still have yet to prove that Obamacare is the reason your out-of-pocket went from $2500 to $7000!

    Eagerly awaiting your proof,
    Data Driven
    The White House Basement

    October 30, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  17. Tom

    I live in CA and tried signing up via the phone and I've been on the call for 2 hours with no resolution. This is ridciulous! I voted for Obama and regret it. How is this any good? I wish I could take my vote back. I'd perfer they switch the health care back to the way it was.

    October 30, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. nunya

    "Clearly you are determined to see the situation that way, so in your mind, yes, he is responsible. Now can the rest of us get on to improving the situation rather than sitting here enduring your posturing for political purposes?"

    October 30, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. smith

    @swedge70-When did anyone say Saddam was reponsible for 9/11?

    October 30, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. Fred Evil

    So the (R)'s see their chance, and continue to act like children.
    It's a WEBSITE. It is tech, it can be fixed. Pretending that the ACA is an utter failure because the website's debut sucked is ignorant in the extreme.
    Go ahead, roll out your own website to 310,000,000 people, and see if it's first month goes smoothly.

    October 30, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  21. Fred Evil

    "asking who is responsible for a billion dollar disaster is stupid? only for liberals i guess."
    You've just tripled the cost, and it isn't a disaster, it's a slow start.
    Though that doesn't fit the narrative you are trying to sell, does it?

    October 30, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. rs

    pjm

    You just have to admire the people that President Obama appoints. I look at GWB appointees (Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell for example) and, well crap, now I'm just sad for my future. Thank God I don't have children...
    ________________________
    At one point I would have paid good money for the opportunity to vote for Powell- too bad he'd never get to run as a member of the GOP now (after they threw him under the bus with the made-up WMD report he delivered to the U.N.). Rice is much more interesting- a Cold Warrior put in to oversee a post-Cold-War State department. Who, admitted post 9/11 that she didn't know the difference between Shia and Sunni.
    No apologies there.....

    October 30, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Mark

    I don't care who is asking the questions...REGARDLESS, the questions SHOULD be asked. The PRESIDENT is at fault and his administration has repeatedly lied to the general public.
    ---------------------–
    Gee, a month or so ago, the Republicans in the Congress were once again walking around with their chests all puffed out, warning that they had the power to impeach the POTUS. Do you know what that means? Let me remind yiou of their talking point.

    It means that the Congress has the "ultimate authority" over all of government. Case in point, the requested the Secretary to appear before them to answer questions. They brag about having the power to impeach the POTUS, or even call him before the Congress to testify if they want to.

    In other words, the Congress is ultimately responsible for all goverment oversight. ... ... not the POTUS.

    October 30, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  24. Me

    CT_Yank

    Would this make GWB ultimately responsible for the cost in lives and treasure incurred by his unfunded wars? Does this make Boehner ultimately responsible for the millions lost to our economy during the shut down? This Congressman is an idiot.
    _______________
    Sorry to be so blunt but are you liberals brian dead??? Congress PASSED a budget, the senate did not!!!! The shutdown is ALL on the senate, congress is NOT required to pass a law that the senate likes so they did thier job!!!!!!!!!!!! GET A CLUE!!! You people crack me up....

    October 30, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Say Ms. Sebellus says, it's my fault, I oversaw everything and steps down. Would the ACA just go away? Here I thought it was a law. I didn't know throwing itch fits got laws repealed."

    The GOP/Teatrolls just want a bloody scalp to hold up while giving a ululating cry towards their rabid base. The added bonus, as far as they are concerned, is that if she stepped down, they'd have gotten rid of one of the most knowledgeable people involved in implementing the law, which (they hope) would make it more likely for further problems to occur.

    October 30, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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