When outrage erupted this week over a government panel's recommendation that women have fewer mammograms, health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius was prepared with the Obama administration's favorite talking point: It's all Bush's fault. Appearing Wednesday on CNN's The Situation Room, Sebelius told anchor Wolf Blitzer:
This panel was appointed by the prior administration, by former President George Bush, and given the charge to routinely look at a whole host of services to make sure that new preventive services which had benefit were being looked at by health care providers and that things that they felt did not have as much benefit as we move forward were also looked at by health care providers.
Senate majority whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) continued the theme on Friday as reported by Politico:
“The recommendation by this medical panel has been rejected by virtually everyone, including the current administration,” Durbin said. “They were appointed by President Bush.”
As outrage builds concerning the Department of Health and Human Services' gag order preventing private health insurance companies from communicating to their Medicare Advantage customers how pending legislation could impact them, a July 1997 letter from the Director of the HHS's Center for Health Plans and Providers claimed such an edict "would violate basic freedom of speech and other constitutional rights of the Medicare beneficiary as a citizen."
As the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell on Thursday demanded news outlets investigate this gag order or appear as if "they approve of government censorship," one can hope this July 1997 correspondence from Bruce Merlin Fried will become a pivotal piece of the puzzle.
Such seems especially important as Fried was the Chief Coordinator of the 1992 Clinton/Gore Campaign's Health Care Advisory Group, and later was a member of the President's Transition Health Policy Team.
With that as pretext, here's the money section of his July 10, 1997, letter to Wendy Krasner of the law firm McDermott, Will & Emery:
Did someone make this "Declare Your Devotion To a Dem Day" at MSNBC? You have to wonder. During the network's noon hour, Dr. Nancy Snyderman declared herself a "big fan" of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Not to be outdone, during the following hour Andrea Mitchell ended her interview with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Ia.) by thanking him profusely—and I mean at length—for having pushed through passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act 19 years ago today.
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith repeated liberal talking points while asking Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about President Obama’s plan to nationalize the health care system: "People get worried when the idea of somebody messing with their health care comes along, but the fact is, is we spend trillions of dollars on health care every year, and if anything is helping or contributing to killing the economy, it's that cost. Why is it so important that this be dealt with?"
Sebelius easily hit that softball: "It isn't about cutting services. It's about doing smarter, more efficient, better medicine for the American people. Too many Americans now come through the doors of an emergency room. Most expensive, least effective care...And frankly, there's a lot more efficiency we can gain in terms of lowering drug costs, lowering costs across the board without cutting services."
Smith concluded the interview by wishing Sebelius "good luck" on implementing the massive government expansion.
On Friday’s Special Report with Bret Baier, FNC correspondent Molly Henneberg highlighted the controversial decision by Notre Dame to invite the pro-choice President Obama to speak and be awarded an honorary degree. Henneberg filled in viewers on recent remarks by Archbishop Raymond Burke of the Vatican Supreme Court as the Catholic Church official voiced disapproval of Obama’s planned appearance. Henneberg: "He does not think Notre Dame, a Catholic university, should have invited President Obama to give the commencement address on May 17. And he does not think the university should present the pro-choice President with an honorary degree."
As Kathleen Sebelius was sworn in as Secretary of Health and Human Services on April 28, the media continued its biased coverage of her controversial appointment. News outlets ignored the reason GOP senators had delayed her confirmation - her pro-abortion extremism - and focused instead on the importance of having the Secretary in place to combat swine flu.
But the media failed to note that since the creation of The Department of Homeland Security epidemic-fighting efforts are no longer headed up by HHS. Homeland Security is supposed to work with the Center for Disease Control. The CDC is led by Acting Secretary Richard E. Besser since the Obama Administration has yet to nominate anyone for the top job, something the media, with exception of CNN's Ed Henry, haven't reported.
An interview with Former Secretary of HHS Donna Shalala on "Fox and Friends" April 29 asks if having no director at the department had an impact on the swine flu crisis. Shalala said, "If you remember we transferred the emergency powers for this kind of outbreak to the Department of Homeland Security when it was created. So that power is no longer in HHS. There is no question though that the CDC plays a lead role here and it's very important to get a CDC director as well as the Secretary sworn in."
It was just a question of time. While it was hard to know where it would come from (although MSNBC is always a safe bet), someone was going to make the entire swine flu pandemic a partisan political issue.
"Well, here we go again - Republicans are playing politics with our health," Schultz said. "This kind of stuff just makes my temperature go up. I'm boiling over this - as many as 150 have been killed by this flu in Mexico. Cases are popping up allover the United States."
In other words, this image that's being projected of Sebelius as some radical defender of the abortion industry is very much overstated. She's a pragmatic executive and it's ludicrous that her confirmation process has become so politicized.
Sebelius is, of course, Barack Obama's health secretary nominee. In that capacity, she'll wield considerable influence over governmental policies concerning abortion. Shelly argues:
I'll say this again: Sebelius is a moderate governor in a state that happens to be home to one of the few doctors willing to perform late-term abortions. Just like many other Kansans, that doctor, George Tiller, has exercised his constitutional right to contribute to political campaigns. Some of his money went to Sebelius.
Shelly doesn't detail how much of Tiller's money went to Sebelius. Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that the nominee "got nearly three times as much political money" from the abortionist than she had reported to the Senate Finance Committee.
News editors need to retake Journalism 101 or move to features when stories about the White House dog take precedence over a controversial veto by the President's unconfirmed appointment to Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a bill, House Substitute for SB 218, April 23 which would have placed additional restrictions on third trimester abortions and allowed more criminal charges over late-term procedures to occur.
With the exception of "Special Report with Bret Baier" that night and "Fox and Friends" the morning of April 24, the broadcast media avoided covering the controversial decision. But "Today," "The Early Show," and "Good Morning America" all had time to cover Michelle Obama talking about the first family's new dog Bo the morning of April 24.
NewsBusters.org Publisher and Media Research Center Founder and President Brent Bozell today - in his private capacity as concerned individual citizen - joined with a list of other conservative luminaries on a letter (in full below the fold) to the members of the United States Senate calling on them to vote down President Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services - current Democratic Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius.
(Sorry, Sunflower Staters who thought they might soon be rid of her.)
Governor Sebelius began her testimony before the confirmation Committee yesterday.
"President Obama's nominee for health secretary received nearly three times as much political money from a controversial abortion doctor as she had told senators," the Associated Press is reporting, noting that this marks "the second time in her confirmation process" that Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kansas) "had to explain a financial oversight" to the Senate Finance Committee.
Sebelius is only the latest Obama Cabinet pick to face a rocky road to confirmation, and in part over tax trouble, yet when it came to reporting the story on the eve of tax deadline day, the Washington Post opted to quietly tuck the story into the Nation Digest feature on page A4.
In addition to the $12,450 Sebelius reported last week as having received "from 1994 to 2001 from George Tiller, one of the nation's few late-term abortion providers," records show that Tiller also donated "at least $23,000 more from 2000 to 2002 to a political action committee that Sebelius established while insurance commissioner to raise money for fellow Democrats."
Sebelius's need to correct "three years' worth of tax returns" and to pay "more than $7,000 in back taxes to fix improper deductions" was the first "oversight" the pro-choice Kansas governor had to correct.
On Wednesday's "Morning Joe," MSNBC co-host Mika Brzezinski twice made it very clear that she has no interest in the revelation that Kathleen Sebelius, Barack Obama's nominee for Health and Human Services, is just the latest pick for the President's cabinet to have tax problems. During a news brief in the 6am hour, Brzezinski related the story and that Sebelius just paid over $7000 in back taxes. She then editorialized to her co-hosts, "Around the table, does anyone care?" [Audio available here.]
"Morning Joe" regulars Mike Barnicle and Willie Geist both replied no. Geist then added, "Get over it." Despite expressing how much she didn't care, Brzezinski repeated the story in the 7am hour and also the same stunt. After briefly explaining the particulars, she complained, "Again, around the table, does anyone care?"
A notorious abortion doctor that specializes in grisly late-term procedures is heading to trial at the same time a politician he contributed to and socialized with is awaiting confirmation as President Obama’s Health and Human Services Secretary. Interesting story? Not to the Associated Press.
AP writer Roxana Hegeman wrote on March 14 about the trial of Dr. George Tiller, which began on March 16. “Tiller is charged with 19 misdemeanors alleging he failed to obtain the required second opinion from an independent physician that a late-term abortion is necessary,” she wrote. “If convicted, the Wichita physician could face a year in the county jail or a fine of $2,500 for each charge.”
Back during confirmation hearings in 2001 for former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson Dan Rather reminded Evening News viewers of Thompson's "hardline anti-abortion stand."
Eight years later, there's a whitewash of President Barack Obama's HHS' nominee abortion record.
As a Democratic governor in red-state Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius has vetoed several bills that would modestly restrict abortion. She supports late-term abortion. She's socialized and taken money from well-known abortion extremists, and she has been unofficially ostracized from the Catholic Church for her stance. But you'd have to go out of your way to learn much about that from the news reports that followed the Feb. 28 announcement that Obama planned to nominate her as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This is a position that controls a $700 billion budget and, according to the New York Times, "would have considerable influence over government policy on abortion."
On Monday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews feared Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, in her nomination fight to head HHS, would be a target of "the terrorism of the, of the anti-abortion people." Then perhaps realizing he called all pro-lifers terrorists, Matthews feebly attempted to amend the statement, as he tried to clarify, "I mean verbal terrorism."[audio excerpt available here]
The following exchange was aired during the March 2, edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let's talk about, let’s get to something really tough.
JONATHAN MARTIN, POLITICO: Sure.
MATTHEWS: Kathleen Sebelius, very likeable, very impressive. I think of the woman who becomes the governor in Mr. Holland’s Opus, remember the one who comes back?
LOIS ROMANO, WASHINGTON POST: Right.
MATTHEWS: Who becomes the governor, the woman governor. She looks like her, in fact. Is she gonna get through the, the terrorism of the, of the anti-abortion people?
Ed Morrissey of Hot Air noted a revision to an existing Associated Press report carried in the Miami Herald yesterday. It concerned Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius's accusations that Republicans are engaging in racial "code word" campaigning.
Among other adds, changes, and deletes, the revision deleted a racial reference in the original headline. It also removed a direct quote from Sebelius that "(Republicans) are not going to go lightly into the darkness."
Morrissey wasn't sure at the time he noted the revision whether the Herald or AP and writer Nigel Duara (with editorial help?) instigated the changes.
I can tell you that, as expected, it was AP, as the two Google News search pics taken during the noon hour Eastern Time show:
Los Angeles Times media critic Tim Rutten, in his latest column titled "The rebirth of abortion," voiced his dismay that social conservatives are reviving the issue of abortion in the 2008 presidential campaign. "If there's one issue that epitomizes the culture wars that have so deeply divided American politics over the last eight years, it's abortion. That's why those who benefited most from those wars are desperate to revive abortion's single-issue virulence in this presidential cycle." He continued that "some on the right think they see an opportunity to hammer once more on the abortion wedge."
Rutten also launched an attack one key member of the so-called "hard cultural right:" Robert Novak. At one point, Rutten suggested that if Novak used a phrase like "abortion industry" to describe abortionists and their supporters, it would be legitimate to use a term like "under the sway of neo-fascist clericism" to describe Novak and his pro-life fellow travelers.
As the veepstakes heats up along with the summer temperatures, columnist Robert Novak is reporting that Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is not the "moderate" that the media elite might suggest as she's considered by the Obama campaign as a potential running mate. She has run afoul of her local Catholic bishop for being a staunchly pro-abortion governor:
Last year, she vetoed a bill requiring explicit medical reasons for a late abortion, and she vetoed other abortion legislation in 2006, 2005 and 2003.
Those positions are necessary for Democratic politicians to pass their party's pro-choice litmus test, but Sebelius's connection with abortion is more intimate. She is allied with the aggressive Kansas branch of Planned Parenthood in a bitter struggle with antiabortion activist District Attorney Phill Kline. There is substantial evidence she has been involved in what pro-life advocates term "laundering" abortion industry money for distribution to Kansas Democrats. Kansas is the fiercest state battleground in the abortion wars, making Kathleen Sebelius the national pro-choice poster girl.
So will reporters see only "moderation" in her abortion alliances? Novak dug into the specifics: