U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary (and ObamaCare queen) Kathleen Sebelius really stepped in it this past week in Charlotte:
Kathleen Sebelius, President Barack Obama’s secretary of Health and Human Services, is walking back what appeared to be an endorsement of Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton for N.C. governor during a speech last Saturday night in Charlotte.
And because her policy speech at the Human Rights Campaign gala included “political components,” the federal government will not pay for Sebelius’ trip to Charlotte, an HHS spokesperson said in response to questions from the Observer.
On Saturday, Sebelius started her speech to about 1,400 people at the gay-rights fundraiser in the Charlotte Convention Center by acknowledging state and local politicians in attendance, including U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx.
She also mentioned Dalton, saying “Your lieutenant governor, Walter Dalton, who needs to be the next governor of North Carolina, is in the house.”
Because Dalton has five Democratic primary opponents – including former U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge and state Rep. Bill Faison – Sebelius’ comments made some political observers wonder whether the Obama administration was signaling that it has a favorite in the race.
But a statement from an HHS spokesperson to the Observer made it clear that Sebelius did not mean to endorse Dalton in the primary.
“Outside of her planned policy remarks, she made some informal acknowledgements and comments and no endorsement was intended,” said the HHS spokesperson.
Sebelius’ comments also got some notice in Washington. One party official, familiar with what happened, accused Dalton of misleading Sebelius during a backstage meeting by presenting himself as the only Democratic candidate in the race.
“It was a bush-league move,” said the party official, who asked not to be identified. “It was a clear lie of omission . . . and it left a bad taste in the mouth of party leaders in Washington.”
Dalton spokesman Pearse Edwards acknowledged that Dalton met briefly with Sebelius before her speech, but “we did not have any prior knowledge that she was going to acknowledge his campaign for governor,” he said.
Asked about the party official’s charge, Edwards added: “That claim is ridiculous and false. We didn’t request an endorsement and we didn’t characterize our campaign in that manner.”
Dalton did send out a Tweet this week, saying “Very thankful for Sec. Kathleen Sebelius’ kind words about our campaign at this weekend’s HRC Gala in Charlotte.”
Sebelius was unavailable immediately after her Saturday speech, so it was unclear whether she meant to endorse Dalton or whether she was just unaware that he has primary opponents.
During her 14-minute speech, Sebelius listed what the Obama administration – her department and others – had accomplished on issues especially important to the gay and lesbian community.
She also said it is “hugely important” to not only re-elect Obama in November but also to defeat the proposed North Carolina constitutional amendment limiting marriage to a man and a woman.
Sebelius said a host of Obama-initiated advances for the gay community – including repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military – could be “wiped out in a heartbeat” if the Republican presidential nominee wins this year.
Some said afterwards that the speech seemed more about politics than government.
Asked about that, the HHS spokesperson also said this in the statement: “The secretary attended the Human Rights Campaign dinner in Charlotte to highlight the work of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services on LGBT issues. The trip included political components, and so the federal government will not be paying for it.”
My sources tell me BarryO’s regime will SOON be apologizing for Sebelius promising THOSE GAYS in Charlotte free birth control. Wow. They need to let this dingbat out of her cage more often. She’s a $$ GOLD MINE $$ for the GOP.