Author Archives: David Goldstein

Roberts wants health care hearings on insurance hikes



Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, who voted against the heath care reform bill, wants Congress to hold hearings on potential rising insurance costs.

Roberts, a Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee, and GOP col-league Chuck Grassley of Iowa, its ranking member, have requested hearings before the next Senate recess on how “Obamacare” has affected health insurance premiums.

They cited a recent Wall Street Journal story, which reported that some insurance companies intend to raise rates next year because of the new health care law. The Obama administration, including Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a former Kansas governor, has said the increases would be lower.

New poll shows Moran,Tiahrt tied in Kansas GOP Senate battle

The Republican Senate contest in Kansas could be tighter than recent polling would indicate, the Tiahrt campaign is suggesting.

Republican Congressmen  Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran are “statistically tied,” according to an internal Tiahrt campaign poll.

The telephone survey this week of 400 likely Republican primary voters showed Moran ahead, 37 percent to 34 percent, with 26 percent undecided. The margin of error was 4.9 percent.

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Tiahrt has $1.5 million in the bank for Senate race

tiahrt_toddRep. Todd Tiahrt reported today that he has raised more than $375,000 since January in his race for the Republican Senate nomination.

Tiahrt said his filing with the Fedeal Election Commission reported that he has $1.5 million in cash on hand.

His opponent in the GOP Senate primary, Rep. Jerry Moran, has not yet released his report.

When Brownback and Obama shared a stage

Back in December 2006, a few weeks before President Obama, then a senator, made his final decision about seeking the White House, he shared a stage with Sen. Sam Brownback, a conservative Republican from Kansas.

Brownback has been one of the leading figures on the Christian right. He has found common cause with several Democrats on issues like sexual trafficking and violent entertainment.

According to Game Change, the new account of the 2008 presidential campaign, both men had been invited on World AIDS Day to the California megachurch of evangelical Pastor Rick Warren.

Obama later returned the favor by asking Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration.

Brownback spoke first, telling Obama, “Welcome to my house,” the book stated.

When Obama spoke, he said, “There is one thing I’ve gotta say, Sam, though: This is my house, too. This is God’s house.”

The authors, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, said Obama quoted Scripture and talked about using condoms to curb the spread of HIV. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Ashcroft backs Tiahrt in Senate race

Former Missouri Sen. John Ashcroft, once one of the country’s leading conservatives, has endorsed Rep. Todd Tiahrt in his race for the Senate in Kansas.

“Conservatives across this country are yearning for principled conservatives in Washington,” Ashcroft, attorney general under former President George W. Bush, said in a statement. “I feel strongly that Todd Tiahrt can help provide that common sense conservative leadership in the Senate.”

Tiahrt is seeking the Republican nomination to the seat being vacated next year by Sen. Sam Brownback, who is running for governor. Kansas Republican Rep. Jerry Moran is also seeking the seat.

Ashcroft, a former Missouri governor, served one term in the Senate. He also explored a run for president prior to the 2000 campaign.

Sebelius cracks wise, challenges Obama to some hoops

Flu prevention Czar Kathleen Sebelius was on the Jay Leno Show last night and took a shot at her boss’ basketball cred.

Leno asked the health and Human Services secretary whether she could beat President Obama in a game of “H-O-R-S-E.” Sebelius played college ball at Trinity Washington University.

“I actually made my college basketball team, so you know, bring it on,” she said. “Give your best shot.”

“Good luck in the new job!” Leno cracked.

McCain backs Moran for Senate

Republican Rep. Jerry Moran collected another endorsement from the GOP establishment for his run for the Senate in Kansas next year. This time it was a big name: Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who lost the presidential race last year.

McCain framed his support around one of his signature issues: Moran, he said, “is not afraid to oppose wasteful earmarks that cheat the American taxpayer.”

Moran is running against fellow Kansas Republican, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, for the GOP nomination.

Sebelius seizes teachable moment

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was attending White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ briefing Thursday when a very loud sneeze caught her attention.

She was there to talk about medical malpractice, but it suddenly became a teachable moment on sanitary practice.

If only her new pal, Elmo, the deputy HHS secretary for swine flu education, was around.

At a time when hand sanitizers are more ubiquitous than cups of Starbucks, America’s top health official – don’t call her a czar – was aghast when she looked in the direction of the sneezer.

It was NBC correspondent Chuck Todd, who – yuck – sneezed into his hand.

SEBELIUS: Bless you.


GIBBS: I mean…

SEBELIUS: I mean, what is that about?



GIBBS: I want to point out — I want to point out, Margaret (McClatchy White House Correspondent Margaret Talev) sneezed a few minutes ago very correctly, into the sleeve. I mean, it would be one thing if it was…

SEBELIUS: I don’t know. Who’s got some Purell? Give that to Mr. Todd right away, a little – a little hand sanitizer…Good. Good. We’ll have Elmo give Chuck a special briefing. We’ll get Elmo over.


SEBELIUS: Elmo knows how to sneeze.


GIBBS: We will seek to – to try to bring Chuck up to the level of a 4-, or 5-, or a 6-year-old.

Fort Leavenworth off detainee list, Kansas senators say

Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback said they believe Fort Leavenworth is probably off the list as a replacement site for terrorist detainees from Guantanamo.

As a result, the Kansas Republicans have dropped the roadblocks that they erected to filling several key posts in the Obama administration.

They had placed the legislative holds because of concerns that President Obama might select the fort when it closes the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba., which it has pledged to do in January

The nominations are for appointees to posts in the Defense and Justice departments. Chief among them was Republican Rep. John McHugh of New York, President Obama’s choice for secretary of the Army.

In a statement, Brownback and Roberts indicated they were satisfied with the outcome of their talks with the administration about Fort Leavenworth.

“We believe that the administration has a good understanding of obstacles and concerns and is giving them proper consideration,” they said. “We are confident that because of this good faith dialogue, detainees will not be transferred to Fort Leavenworth.”