October 30th, 2013
01:54 PM ET
5 years 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. Woman In California

    @ A True Conservative
    Thank you for taking part in my experiment and proving just how right I am.

    October 30, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Binyam

    As the president has the ultimate responsibility running the government, the congressman, Mt. Harper and his friends should be aware that they too have the responsibility passing a budget to run the government. The republicans have nothing else to do but attack those who are working day and night to assure that the more than 40 million Americans register for the program.

    October 30, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. Phil in NH

    So if I understand this correctly all of you democrats are perfectly fine with paying for someone elses health care? I really don't understand you people. I am not against people getting the care that they need but if it comes down to a little old lady who can't afford her health care and me supporting my family which one do you think I'm going to take care of first? You may be sitting back saying "well my health care costs went down under the ACA" well you're not everyone. I have health care from being retired military which is about $400.00 a year and I looked on the ACA site just to see what it would cost if I had to choose one of the plans and the cheapest one I could find would be over $500.00 a month. I'm just waiting for Obama to say we have to cut military health care so that he can milk us for every penny that we don't have through the ACA.

    October 30, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    just asking wrote:

    asking who is responsible for a billion dollar disaster is stupid? only for liberals i guess.
    Of course, it's goes way beyond stupid. Particularly just after your party wasted 24 billion dollars, and hurt the economy.

    October 30, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. J Robinson

    The assertion that all large scale systems do "end to end security testing" is a blatant fallacy. Many large systems haven't even identified all their vulnerable entry points, much less done anything to harden them. The only thing that drives security testing is the threat of impending audits and the legal consequences that might ensue Profit making enterprises hate security testing, much less the implementation of best practices or security controls. Why? It slows things down. annoys developers and de-glamorizes the "user experience". Things get fixed after the fact and under duress, just like they are now with Obomacare, but with much less hoopla and political finger pointing.

    October 30, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |

    Love the comments from the Libbys. No accountability for their messiah or the outlaws that work for him.

    October 30, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. floyd from illinois

    Asked the same question twice and twice got the correct answer. But being a Republican, he was unable to deal with any reality that differs from The Agenda, so he asked it again, got the semantic equivalent of GFY, and acts insulted.

    Every R needs to grow up and act like the adults we pay them to be.

    October 30, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. david shoup

    I give that lady credit for not losing it or punching those gutter-sniping hate mongers. Her medical is covered by the FEHB. they knew that. The ACA was not designed to attack the FEHB.Why would/should she switch? These millionaire fops get free medical at the Congressional infirmary at the capital. Why don't they pay for it?

    October 30, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. rosethornne

    "just asking says:
    October 30, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm
    The GOP asked derogatory, demeaning stupid questions….

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

    First, no it wasn't a billion dollars. Second, how's that TWENTY FOUR BILLION DOLLAR tea bagger glass house working out for ya?

    October 30, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Jesse Jackson, Jr. Has A Pretty Mouth

    No matter how bad a day Katherine Sebelius had testifying in front of Congress it had to be better than the night Jesse Jackson, Jr. had in prison with all of his new "friends".

    October 30, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    "This isn't a political game, this Presenident of ours needs to throw in the white towel and walk away from his post."

    Cool. A new GOPerville talking point.

    (I know... I know)

    October 30, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Me

    Data Driven


    "To Gurgyl. How many times did we hear the President state our health care rates will go down $2,500 in premiums when in fact he knew that it would not. How many times did the President state that everyone will have the advantage of having the same health care when he exempted himself, congress, unions, and other groups. He knew this was a lie as well. Simply put for you, is you support and blindly follow a LIAR."

    Getting sick of unsupported conservative claims. Your claim that some people are "exempt" is a proven lie. And what's this about a reduction of $2500 in premiums? For all? For some? Over a certain period of time?

    Nothing in your comment is either verified or truthtful. Getting real sick of the liars who troll in here while responses – LIKE THIS ONE! –get moderated away.
    Again got to love it, when the FACTS don't support your narrative, you call them lies even though proof has been on EVERY PAGE of ANY MEDIA outlet!!! LMFAO again.....

    October 30, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. Nitin

    They should hire this lady's highschool grandkids to design a website that can take 1 million hits at the same time. Why are they hiring 70 year old to do a 17 year old job?

    October 30, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. PtBarnumBoy

    I'm mad as hell and am not going to be taking it any longer. My monthly premimum went up over $9.00 this year with only marginally better coverage. I want those 15 to 20 percent increases that were common during the early 2000s.

    October 30, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  15. CrazyIsraeli

    Now this is what I call entertainment!! Don't know about you, but I'm loving all this drama! Yet another edge-of-your-seat, pop-corn munching political charade, from the same talents that brought us the harrowing "Big Budget Blow-out of 2013" ! I call this one the "Super Sebelius Smack-down!" Haha YES! How do the Republican strategists manage to do it again and again? They really should be getting more credit for their work here - they should moonlight as writers for Showtime or AMC original series if they have any spare time, because when it comes to orchestrating drama they are hands-down the best around. Would love it if we could get an audio track with the writers' voices, so we can hear what they're thinking.

    October 30, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. Colleen

    She was too polite. What she should have done was point the finger at the individuals on that bench. They are the ones who approved this legislation and then dragged their feet writing the regulations. It is impossible to craft a website when the final regulations were not delivered in a timely manner. It's about time we held congressmen and senators accountable instead of them sitting on their podiums acting pompous and above reproach.

    October 30, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. jboh

    "A true conservative" you are on here all the time. Are the Koch roaches paying you? Same ? to "just sayin".

    October 30, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. texasnotea

    Just another partisan witch hunt by the republicans with no interest in fixing anything just making sure it stays broken.

    October 30, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  19. pjm

    Rudy NYC

    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.


    What? Clearly libidiot logic at its best – now hearing "the buck stops over there" is really making me laugh

    October 30, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. NotSurprised

    Start impeachment proceedings. We deserve BETTER.

    October 30, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. freedom

    "Whatever", "What difference does it make??!", "I didn't know about it until I saw it on the news".....

    October 30, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. Lisa P.


    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

    You're not interested in questions at all, just in hearing your preferred answers repeated back at you again and again and again. Ain't gonna happen. Too many of us want to understand the problem, solve the problem and move forward to waste our time with you in your personal echo chamber.

    October 30, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. RIchard Long

    The Obamacare roll-out debacle is disrespectful to all of the tax-paying citizens that have paid millions on a website that does not work and will have to pay millions for the website to get fixed. To add more insult to injury, if Obama had a 'laser-focus' on US unemployment and economy why did he hire a CANADIAN consulting group when he had experts in the US?

    BTW: How many people have enrolled for Obamacare so far?

    October 30, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. Fischer509

    I have never witnessed the rancor and disrespect shown to Kathleen Sebelius by the Congressional comittee. The task at hand should be joint implementation of a health care plan to benefit the majority of Americans lacking good health coverage, not going ballistic over a temporary program malfunction and browbeating a dedicated public servant. The old addage holds true:If you aren't part of the solution yopu are the problem.

    October 30, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    The ACA website must know who the right wing nuts are, because they get put on hold so real people can get information on their 140 different plans. Think about it, only a RWNJ would complain about waiting two hours to save $4000.

    October 30, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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