The White House is scoffing at a new study which shows there’s no public record that President Barack Obama ever met with the top official responsible for developing the Obamacare network.
But White House spokesman Jay Carney declined today to cite one example where Obama met with Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of the Health and Human Services department.
Instead, Carney claimed that “she’s here a lot and meets with the president with regular — with regularity.”
“It’s safe to say that Kathleen Sebelius has been one of the more frequent visitors to and attendance of meetings with the president,” Carney said, adding, “I don’t have the figures.”
Sebelius has likely met with Obama many times at ceremonial events, such as celebrations, staged cabinet meetings and PR events.
But if White House officials details any of those meetings, they’ll likely get media pressure to describe all of the meetings — and the number of those meetings between Obama and Sebelius may be very small. That would be a problem, because it would bolsters critics who says the president acted carelessly and recklessly while trying to redesign the nation’s healthcare system.
The report, “Presidential Meetings With Cabinet Secretaries Since the Signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” is shocking because it suggests that Obama didn’t bother to meet with Sebelius, despite her task of revamping the nation’s health-care system to match the interests of the Democratic Party.
Also, the Obamacare rollout has been a PR catastrophe for Obama, partly because it showed how be deceived the public about his promise that they could keep their insurance plans, and because it shredded his claim that he could manage the federal government.
In the weeks after the Oct. 1. unveiling, his approvals numbers crashed below 40 percent, and the public’s trust in him dropped to roughly 5o percent.
But instead of proving the report wrong by providing reporters with dates, diary entries and photographs, Carney today scoffed at the report, which was completed by the private-sector Government Accountability Institute, run by an accomplished researcher, Peter Schweizer.
The “report that was written by an advocate,” complained Carney, who is paid to be an advocate for the president.
The report, he said, “is based on a ridiculously false premise” that all visits to the White House are recorded in public logs. Instead, he said, visiting “cabinet secretaries don’t regularly get entered into the visitors logs because they come frequently.”
But the report does not claim Sebelius never met with Obama — it claims “the [public] Presidential schedule does not document a single one-on-one meeting with Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services.. [although] there is one instance of Secretary Sebelius meeting jointly with the President and [then] Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner.”
Carney insisted that Obama does meet with cabinet officials. “He meets with other Cabinet secretaries in one-on-ones and small groups all the time,” he said.
The repot documents hundreds of such meetings, but only one with Sebelius.
But Carney did not provide any examples where Obama met with Sebelius. “I don’t have all those figures in front of me… I don’t have the figures,” he said.