Obama ally Sebelius in line for HHS job

The Kansas governor is seen as the administration's top choice to replace Tom Daschle as the nominee to head Health and Human Services.

By Alex Koppelman

Published February 19, 2009 3:15PM (EST)

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat who was a key supporter of President Obama early on in his campaign, looks like the top choice to be the next secretary of Health and Human Services, the New York Times is reporting.

If nominated, Sebelius would take a spot once reserved for former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, another close Obama ally who had to withdraw from consideration over tax issues.

She'd also be taking a job that some Democrats want to see go to former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. But the Hill reports that Dean isn't even near the top of the list due to concern from Senate Democrats about his ability to work with Republicans on health care reform. Some of Dean's allies aren't happy about the situation. "It’s damn near disrespectful," one said to the Hill. "Tell me, who has been a more successful modern-day chairman?" Another told the paper that the Obama administration's reluctance to appoint Dean to the post is "as appalling as it is arrogant."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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