Archive for Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sebelius offers ‘American’ response

January 29, 2008


Sebelius responds to Bush's address

Governor Kathleen Sebelius gave the Democratic response to Bush's State of the Union Address on Monday night. Enlarge video

Bush addresses nation

President Bush gave his final State of the Union address on Monday night and said while U.S. troops in Iraq are hitting enemies hard, they're still not defeated and there will be tough fighting ahead. Enlarge video

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius works with a TV crew while she prepares for the Democratic response to the State of the Union at Cedar Crest, the Kansas Governor's Mansion, in Topeka.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius works with a TV crew while she prepares for the Democratic response to the State of the Union at Cedar Crest, the Kansas Governor's Mansion, in Topeka.

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— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius urged President Bush on Monday to work with her fellow Democrats on economic and foreign policy issues so that he will see "real results" during his final year in office.

Giving her party's response to the Republican president's final State of the Union address, Sebelius said: "So we ask you, Mr. President, will you join us? It's time to get to work."

Bush's speech promoted goals backed by the GOP, but he began with an appeal to bipartisanship himself, praising a recent agreement on an economic stimulus package. Sebelius acknowledged the agreement is encouraging.

"But you and I know that a temporary fix is only the first step toward meeting our challenges and solving our problems," she said. "If Washington can work, quickly, together on a short-term fix for families caught in the financial squeeze, then we can work together to transform America."

Democratic leaders have been impressed with Sebelius since she began serving as governor in 2003 in her Republican-leaning state, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called her one of the party's brightest stars Monday.

"Obviously, the Democratic Party wants to advertise itself as something more than a coastal party and show that there are Democrats in places like Kansas," said Bruce Oppenheimer, a Vanderbilt University political scientist. "You don't always want to round up the usual suspects."

But Republican Party leaders portrayed her as a liberal whose record doesn't match the Democrats' positive descriptions. They chastised her for by claiming to speak for working families after being photographed by Vogue magazine in an "extravagant" Oscar de la Renta dress.

GOP Chairman Kris Kobach called her remarks "calculated," an attempt by Democratic leaders to make the party seem nonpartisan.

But another Kansas Republican, Sen. Sam Brownback, said he appreciated the spirit of Sebelius' remarks calling for people to work together: "I think that's what the American public is saying and I hope that's what they're going to see, particularly on the stimulus package."

Bipartisan spirit

Sebelius and Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, mentioned Greensburg, the small southwest Kansas town nearly destroyed by a tornado in May. Its city manager, Steve Hewitt, sat with the first lady, as did another Kansan, former Sen. Bob Dole.

Roberts described the rebuilding of Greensburg as an example of how policymakers can cooperate. He said while Bush and Sebelius show their parties have different priorities, "It is clear to me that Kansans want us to work together to get something done on behalf of the American people."

"Kansans are tired of the politics of exhaustion and will expect their leaders to keep politics to a minimum and work for progress," Roberts said.

During her remarks, Sebelius spoke of "a new American majority."

"The American people aren't afraid to face difficult choices. But we have no more patience for divisive politics," she said. "We are tired of leaders who rather than asking what we can do for our country, ask nothing of us at all."

Sebelius cited the war in Iraq as an example of where bipartisanship is necessary. She said Americans, like Democrats in Congress, are ready for a new course.

"If more Republicans in Congress stand with us this year, we won't have to wait for a new president to restore America's role in the world, and fight a more effective war on terror," she said.

Sebelius is the daughter of former Ohio Gov. John Gilligan, a Democrat who held that office in 1971-75; they are the only father-daughter governors in U.S. history. But in her remarks, she noted that her husband, Gary, is the son of a Republican congressman from Kansas.

"There is a chance Mr. President, in the next 357 days, to get real results, and give the American people renewed optimism that their challenges are the top priority," she said, referring to the amount of time Bush has left in office.

Rep. Dennis Moore, a Democrat who represents the Kansas City area in the state's 3rd District, said Sebelius showed in her speech that she "knows how to reach across the partisan divide and make government work."

Republican response

Kansas Republicans have repeatedly questioned Sebelius' leadership. Kobach noted that she has proposed tax increases in the past and this year endorsed higher tobacco taxes to finance health care initiatives. He described her as a liberal who is "more interested in pandering to special interests on the East and West coasts than serving the people of Kansas."

The RNC noted the strong support she has received in her campaigns from trial lawyers and labor organizations, suggesting she supported those groups over workers and businesses. It called her "Kathleen: the Tax and Spend Machine."

Sebelius won re-election with 58 percent of the vote in 2006, in a state where registered Democrats are less than 27 percent of the voters. Also, Bush carried Kansas by wide margins in 2000 and 2004, and no Democratic presidential nominee has prevailed there since 1964.

But Kobach said: "Being able to win votes from Republicans is a different thing entirely than actually governing in a bipartisan manner."

Kobach called the governor's delivery "stiff." He said Democratic leaders gave her a big opportunity and, "I think she squandered it."

"She's got a poker face. We saw it during the entire speech," he said. "She didn't come across as eloquent, energetic or excited about what she was saying."


classclown 7 years, 10 months ago

She did look rather wooden. And she seemed to be having a hard time reading the script from the teleprompter.

Phillbert 7 years, 10 months ago

Kris Kobach is the last person who should be criticizing anyone for their speaking style. The guy gives his speeches faster than John Moschitta.

staff04 7 years, 10 months ago

"Sebelius won re-election with 58 percent of the vote in 2006, in a state where registered Democrats are less than 27 percent of the voters."

It must break that prick Kobach's heart to know that more Republicans vote for her than Democrats...what's a guy to do?

drake 7 years, 10 months ago


calvin 7 years, 10 months ago

Though I am a Republican I was glad that our governor would be delivering this address. I appreciated the tone of what she said, but she looked uncomfortable, like a deer caught in the headlights the entire time she was speaking.

Shardwurm 7 years, 10 months ago

She should have a Mary Kay party at the mansion. If someone had done a makeover for her before the speech it would have helped a lot.

Of course she was nervous. This was her big chance to become relevant on the national scene. Now that she's been showcased for the country her endorsement of a Democratic candidate becomes more important.

Except for the fact that she came across as a corpse it was a great presentation.

badger 7 years, 10 months ago

Trading in Kathleen Sebelius for Rick Perry was the worst part of leaving Kansas.

BigAl 7 years, 10 months ago

GOP Chairman Kris Kobach called her remarks "calculated," an attempt by Democratic leaders to make the party seem nonpartisan.

Kobach is showing how partisan the Republicans are with this statement. Instead of taking the high ground, he makes this highly partisan. Instead of at least trying to work together, he comes out with petty remarks. No wonder Sebelius is a two term Democrat governor in a red state.

BigDog 7 years, 10 months ago

I don't know what has happened with Governor Sebelius lately. Her talk last night and the state of the state address both had little emotion and she seemed "Al Gore-like" stiff.

What I watched of her last Democratic reposponse night made President Bush look almost warm and engaging. And that takes a bit.

preebo 7 years, 10 months ago

Did anyone notice her Response had some strong similarities to Sen. Barack Obama's message from the campaign stump? Her reference to the new political majority was almost verbatim to his speeches on the campaign trail. His message of inspiring the American people was a common theme in her response as well. I am willing to bet with him campaigning here in Kansas and Kansas City, MO today and his familial ties to the state (Maternal side), he will get the endorsement of Gov. Sebelius (Superdelegate) come Feb. 5th and I would be suprised if he doesn't win the Democratic Caucus with Edwards being a close second and Hillary bringing up the rear. Not that any of this matters with our small amount of delegates, but every little bit helps.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 7 years, 10 months ago

"And incidentally, my son's game can be purchased on his website while mine can be purchased on mine. For examples of my work see my betrayal of KU Hospital, my flips flops on the environment and my gift of Democratic political offices to the most corrupt elements of the Republican Party. Send inquiries to ">"

beatrice 7 years, 10 months ago

oil can .... oil can ....

Sadly, she was as stiff as the Tin Man. I was certainy expecting more and better. I guess that is why Obama and Clinton are running for President, and not Sebelius.

Bush's LAST State of the Union address!! Yippeee!!!!

Shardwurm 7 years, 10 months ago

americorps (Anonymous) says:

Stupid, shallow and worthless comment

You're right...not even Mary Kay herself could have saved the day.

mmiller 7 years, 10 months ago

Anybody up for a game of "Don't Drop the Soap?"


FatTony 7 years, 10 months ago

Kris K. Kobach is a traitor. If he truly was entrenched in the state of Kansas if he was truly a champion of causes for the state he wants to represent he would not be a professor at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. I find it interesting that there are no law programs from any university in the state of Kansas that would want the Chairman of the GOP on staff. That tells you something.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 10 months ago

She was superb in her presentation of the democratic response. The message was loud and clear,soft spoken yet to the point. A class act. But was the president listening? This woman stole the show in about 5-7 minutes.

I liked her soft spoken in your face approach without becoming personal....very cool. Although seemingly low key the substance was there as were the many challenges to President Bush. The content of her message was quite clear.... cut the crap and let's get to work.

Shardwurm 7 years, 10 months ago

LOL @ Defender

Who says I'm shallow?

You don't like my post therefore I must be stupid, shallow and quite possibly worthless? That's priceless.

I intentionally posted that to stir things up. You bit. Trust showed a lot more of your character than I did of mine.

Phill_Davis 7 years, 10 months ago

Why does John Hanna give so much space to Kobach? His attacks are almost entirely ad hom - even the haters in these forums occasionally provide a warrant for their vitriol. There are no substantive pokes at the Gov's record - just Kobach bellowing about "liberals" and "special interests" as though anyone except his own goose-stepping bootlickers believes him.

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