Watchdog Says Obama's Hands-Off Style to Blame for Healthcare Woes

Friday, 06 Dec 2013 11:04 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Holding only one meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius before the healthcare rollout may have given President Barack Obama a level of "plausible deniability" if things turned out badly, the head of a government watchdog group said Friday.

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"Perhaps they weren't sure how the rollout was going to go, and this gives him some level perhaps of plausible deniability.
Because, now, the Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is basically taking the fall for this rollout," Peter Schweitzer, president of the Government Accountability Institute, said on "Fox and Friends."



White House records indicate that the president met with Sebelius only once face-to-face during the three and a half years before the launch of Obamacare, Breitbart reported, also citing Politico's presidential schedule calendar.

Schweitzer, president of the watchdog accountability institute, wrote Thursday for Politico Magazine theorizing that the Obamacare rollout suffered from a lack of meetings between Obama and Sebelius. He suggested that it may have been the president's delegation style that accounted for the lack of meetings, rather than any intentional effort to distance himself from any problems that might turn up.

"(It) could simply be the reflection of the fact that he's kind of hands-off — that he's detached, which has been a criticism of this president," he said on Fox.

The job of a president, however, is to be engaged, Schweizer said. This especially comes into play when it involves the implementation of healthcare legislation that involves "a sixth of our entire national economy."

"If you're an executive, you need to know for sure, for darned sure, that the rollout is going to work, and it's going to go well. It's really incumbent upon a president to contact the people that are involved in this initiative," he said.

Schweizer also said Obama's chief advisers, such as Valerie Jarrett, bear the blame for Obamacare's failures as well because they should in effect know better. He said any presidents should always "surround themselves with people who recognize their shortcomings, or perhaps, their weaknesses."

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"People like Valerie Jarrett around him don't challenge that. They reinforce this notion that he's so brilliant that he's bored with these meetings, and doesn't need to participate," Schweizer said.

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