NBC reporter Kristen Welker said Friday that the White House was “concerned” by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ “quite rocky” appearance on “The Daily Show” last fall, adding that the secretary’s public relations blunders after the Obamacare rollout convinced administration officials it was time for her to go.
Welker spoke with MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow about the resignation, saying she had talked to an official source who provided insight on why the White House chose to kick Sebelius to the curb.
“One senior administration official tells me that there was broad agreement that it was time to move on with a new head of HHS who wasn’t battered and bruised,” she said. “You sort of heard President Obama make a subtle reference to that idea.”
“This administration — in addition to the fact that [they were] feeling frustrated that the rollout of the health-care website was bungled — didn’t exactly feel comfortable with the way that she handled some of her public appearances afterward,” she continued.
“Particularly her appearance on ‘The Daily Show’ — you’ll recall that was quite rocky,” she noted. “And then we didn’t really hear a whole lot from Secretary Sebelius after that.”
Quite rocky may be an understatement. Sebelius looked like a deer in the headlights during her appearance with Jon Stewart last October, who savaged the secretary for HealthCare.gov’s sputtering rollout.
“We’re going to do a challenge,” Stewart began at the time. “I’m going to try to download every movie ever made, and you’re gonna try to sign up for Obamacare. And we’ll see which happens first.”
And it went downhill from there.
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