Kathleen Sebelius is the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services in Obama's Cabinet. She has served as Kansas' governor since 2002 and before that was insurance commissioner and a state representative.
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Yes, I already have. I’ll watch Sebelius tonight, and when Barack gets there I’ll hear what he has to say.
Denver Speaking on a national stage, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday invoked the Kansas motto of rewarding hard work and criticized Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. John McCain for embracing "country club economics."
Sebelius, co-chairwoman of the Democratic National Convention, praised Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as someone who embodies "ad astra per aspera," or "to the stars through difficulties."
She said Obama has a plan to help the record number of homeowners facing foreclosures and to revitalize rural America by creating "green jobs."
"Barack Obama knows it's time for tax breaks for America's main streets, not Wall Street," she said to thousands of cheering delegates at the Pepsi Center.
On the other hand, Sebelius said McCain wants to give more tax cuts to big corporations, supports privatizing Social Security and has voted numerous times against renewable energy.
The only thing McCain wants to renew, she said, is "the failed Bush agenda for another four years."
Sebelius added: "He believes in country club economics." The "country club" tag has also been used in an ad by Obama.
Kansas Republican Party executive director Christian Morgan said he was surprised that Sebelius went on the attack, and said it would backfire.
"She took some pretty serious hacks at Senator McCain," Morgan said. But, he said, he doesn't believe Sebelius was effective, and said the attack undermined her message of bipartisanship. And, he said, Sebelius should focus on improving the Kansas economy.
Sebelius was considered a possible vice presidential candidate, but Obama went with Washington, D.C., veteran U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del. Even so, Sebelius' ability to win elections in an overwhelmingly Republican state has promoted her up the ladder in Democratic Party politics.
In her seven-minute speech, Sebelius poked fun at the recent dust-up over McCain not knowing how many homes he owned. He owns seven.
"I'm sure you remember a girl from Kansas who said there's no place like home," Sebelius said. "Well, in John McCain's version, there's no place like home. Or a home. Or a home. Or a home," she said.
Sebelius said she had experience in working with Republicans to try to "bring about positive change." She said Obama has done the same and will "turn the page on the politics and policies of the past."
Sebelius was one of several governors who spoke Tuesday evening. Her speech was indicative of a strategy by Democrats to step up criticism of McCain as the convention continues.
Kansas delegates to the convention said they thought Sebelius did a great job.
"She showed why Kansans of all stripes approve of her leadership," said state Rep. Raj Goyle, D-Wichita.
Jan McConnell, of Overland Park, said, "She always makes me proud to be a Kansan."
Stan Adams, of Overland Park, said Sebelius was able to draw the economic policy distinctions between Obama and McCain. "She did a great job of articulating Obama's plan for the middle class," he said.
State Sen. Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said of Sebelius, "She has definitely arrived on the national scene." He said when she came on the stage, delegates were directed to wave signs that said, "New energy for America." He said he believed that was a tribute to Sebelius.