Sebelius has nothing but sneers for Republican's "gift"
November 2nd, 2013
05:08 PM ET
9 years ago

Sebelius has nothing but sneers for Republican's "gift"

(CNN) - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was already having a rough week when she was presented with an unwelcome gift at an event in Memphis on Friday.

After being grilled on Capitol Hill and receiving subpoenas from one congressional committee, Sebelius was wrapping up her week at an outreach event when Tennessee state Sen. Brian Kelsey approached her with a copy of the book "Web Sites for Dummies," according to Memphis' The Daily News, which captured the moment on camera.

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In the picture posted on The Daily News' website, Sebelius holds the book out with what seems to be an irritated expression.

Kelsey, a Republican, later tweeted, "Just presented Sec Sebelius with 'Websites for Dummies,'" and then, "The book is simply a reminder to Sec. #Sebelius of my message to her that Tennessee does NOT want Medicaid expansion."

The secretary's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sebelius was in Tennessee to promote the Affordable Care Act and explain how her department is working to fix the botched insurance exchange website,

"Clearly we did not do enough end-to-end testing," admitted Sebelius, though she defended the market itself, saying, "The market is ready. We have competitive plans in every market in this country."

"We have brought in a lot of technology experts to help make sure that we have all the eyes and ears on the problems and the puzzle, “Sebelius added.

On Wednesday, Sebelius apologized for the flawed website when she testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. President Obama has thus far resisted calls from congressional Republicans to fire Sebelius.

Filed under: Kathleen Sebelius • Obamacare • Tennessee
soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. Alena

    What an incredibly rude and juvenile thing to do. Regardless of party, there should be an expectation from all of our elected officials of a minimum level of professionalism and civility. Senator Kelsey needs to grow up.

    November 3, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. Justin Hightower

    March on Washington D. C. March 31, 2014 to stop Obamacare!
    This is about to take our country down, and if we don't stop it now, we won't ever be able to.
    March on Washington D. C. March 31, 2014 to stop Obamacare!

    November 3, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  3. connieb

    that Tennessee senator Brian Kelsey sounds like a real class act-not. What good does it do to tell our children to not make fun of people when some brainless twit thinks this is funny. Be an adult, Mr. Senator. grow up

    November 3, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. Suemac in WA

    All these comments about the "rude" behavior.... funny.
    President Obama never bothered to pick up the phone and talk to Mitch McConnell, minority leader of the Senate, funtil he had been in office for 15 months! Now THAT'S rude!

    November 3, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. Don in albuquerque

    @justin Hightower ....Run! Run! The Martians are coming! The Martians are
    Coming! Thing grade mentality at work.

    November 3, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. vic , nashville ,tn

    2010 they took control state what did they achieved? Nothing
    Governor worried about reelection so nothing done
    State Republicans are sticking with far right they are losing moderate republicans democrats

    November 3, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  7. Thomas

    @Justin Hightower
    March on Washington D. C. March 31, 2014 to stop Obamacare!
    This is about to take our country down, and if we don't stop it now, we won't ever be able to.
    March on Washington D. C. March 31, 2014 to stop Obamacare!

    You said the same thing about The Civil Rights Act of 1964 !
    This is about to take our country down, and if we don't stop it now, we won't ever be able to.
    Jim DeMint / George Wallace
    "No We Wont 2016"

    November 3, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. Thomas

    The fall guy (gal) for the idiot BHO !

    @A True Conservative
    Well played Sir, well played. Now if she can just find someone to read it to her.

    All of Obama's operatives are puppets, empty suits, cowards, spineless, unethical, and liars – and that includes the president – he's the one calling the shots.


    It's time for Green Eggs and Ham !

    "Joe" McCarthy / George Wallace
    Ted Cruz / Jim DeMint

    November 3, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  9. sheshie

    Hope she reads it.

    November 3, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. w l jones

    The USA draft didn^t work in the beginning but we won two world wars and countless conflict so give it a chance correct the problem.out.

    November 3, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Marie MD

    @hightower, is this going to have the same attendance as the teaklans last march on Washington? About 29 fools showed up and all were pretending they were there to visit the museums? As if their followers cared about the arts!
    BTW – Obamacare is the law. You can't stop it. Gawd! You people are truly dense.

    November 3, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. Captain

    Was it a rude act to give an appointed member of our government a joke gift? Probably. Do I expect honesty from my elected officials, such as POTUS? You bet I do. When you lie to the public about ACA and when you are shown your lie, and then you dance around the lie, claiming it's someone else's fault, you disgust me and I call for your removal from office. At least you've made Jimmy Carter happy. He is now no longer the worst POTUS in the history of the country.

    November 3, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. Floretta

    What can you expect from a very junior senator but juvenile behavior?

    November 3, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. Alan

    Poor Tennessee, this low class childish individual is the best they can come up with to represent them. Sad commentary on the state!

    November 3, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. Tim


    November 3, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  16. jharry

    She should be reminded daily that she is an embarrassment to herself and all the rest of us.

    November 3, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. jboh

    Just more tantrum throwing by the TEA/GOP. Will these children ever grow up. I doubt it.

    November 3, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. Tim

    This has become acceptable behavior across the board. In fact, part of the game is democrats rationalize when a democrat acts in such a way and republicans rationalize when a republican does it and the opposite party is always finding it offensive...until it is their turn. So...what about this makes a story?

    November 3, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. SpgfldTom

    Where else buy the government can you spend $690 million dollars on a website that doesn't work and still keep your job? Do you think government bureaucrats fell shame? Nah, contempt for the "unwashed masses" maybe, but not shame.

    November 3, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. skytag

    What a childish thing to do. This is why I despise the Republican party today. There is no excuse for such behavior.

    November 3, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. peter

    There was nothing rude about it. She should have lost her job over this mess, but since there is no government accountability at any level she will keep her job based upon her attendance.

    November 3, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. WallStud

    I'm a Republican, but I really wish that alleged Senators (do you believe that? He has a rank of SENATOR and he's behaving in a manner that would be unacceptable even for a high school kid) like Kelsey would get back to work and to STOP contributing to making our government into a circus. Creating a dynamic web site capable of servicing hundreds of millions of users is HARD! Really HARD! If you don't believe me, then try it sometime. I promise that "Web Sites for Dummies" will be no help. Sebelius owned up, accepting probably a disproportionate share of the blame. Let's stop piling on the blame and get behind fixing the site. I'm no fan of Obamacare, but I'm even less of a fan of our current dysfunctional, overly-partisan congress.

    November 3, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. EdL

    When Kathleen believed she had been passed over by Obama when he was elected in 2008, she told us yokels out here in Kansas she would not be going to Washington because Kansas needed her. She changed her mind when she was later offered the Health and Human Services Secretary position. I wonder if she might now regret changing her promise, or threat, to we Kansans..

    November 3, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. Brian

    Sebelius is clearly incompetent.

    Why is she still in charge of anything?

    November 3, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  25. Native Earthling

    It must have been a good read for Sen. Brian Kelsey, and he wanted to share it.

    November 3, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
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