Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Services Secretary?
by Jonathan Singer, Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 07:05:37 PM EST
The AP's Jennifer Loven is hearing the name of the Governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, as a real possibility to be Barack Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was very near the top of President Barack Obama's list of candidates to head the Health and Human Services Department, a senior administration official said Saturday.
The source, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss private administration deliberations, said no decision was imminent. But the official added the former Kansas insurance commissioner was rising as Obama considers prospective candidates.
Advocacy groups like the consumer watchdog role 60-year-old Sebelius played as insurance commissioner for eight years before she became governor.
Sebelius was one of the strongest surrogates for President Obama over the course of the 2008 campaign, during both the primaries and the general election, and was reportedly on the shortlist to join the Democratic ticket as the party's Vice Presidential nominee. She is also very popular, even in the deeply red state of Kansas, where 56 percent of voters -- including a respectable 42 percent of Republicans -- view her favorably. Perhaps the greatest downside to a Sebelius pick would be that her selection would turn what is a good Democratic pick up opportunity in the Kansas Senate race into a likely Republican retention. But whether Sebelius is on the inside track to the Obama cabinet, or even if she has a greater likelihood of being selected than, say, the moderate-to-conservative Phil Bredesen, remains to be seen.