Addressing a Government Accountability Institute report that found that President Barack Obama has not had a single one-on-one meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius since Obamacare passed over three years ago, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush said that if Obama and Sebelius met as regularly as they claimed, the White House would have the records to prove it.
Appearing on Fox News’s The Kelly File on Monday, Marc Thiessen, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said that “every single meeting the president has” is recorded.
He said that meetings between Obama and Sebelius “might not be in the public record,” but there is a “White House diary” that is in the “Outer Oval” of the White House where all meetings are logged. Thiessen said every visitor who comes through the White House goes through the Outer Oval, and the White House staff records everyone who has walked through; who was there, for how long, and what was discussed. Thiessen said every person the president speaks to–and even his bathroom breaks–are recored.
Thiessen also said the Outer Oval logs get sent to the White House diarist at the National Archives. He emphasized that if White House Press Secretary Jay Carney can walk twenty paces, he can find out in two seconds how many times Obama met with Sebelius.
Last Friday, after being hammered by mainstream outlets like ABC and NBC over the report, Carney claimed Obama met “regularly” with Sebelius during a White House press briefing. As host Megyn Kelly noted, though, Carney has not provided any dates, times, or topics to push back against the GAI report.
“If what they are saying is true, there is a record of it in the White House and eventually at the National Archives,” Thiessen said before nothing the White House would only not make the number of meetings public if the number was “embarrassing.”
Kelly noted that Sebelius claimed she met “frequently” at the White House with Obama as well but stressed that HHS was not more specific than that last Thursday, a day after the GAI report was released.
Thiessen said Obama could not have had information about the website troubles or he would not have told Americans HealthCare.Gov would work like Amazon before its launch. He said the GAI report puts the Obama administration in a terrible position.
“If he was meeting with her, she was not telling the truth,” Thiessen said. “If he wasn’t meeting with her, it shows he was disengaged.”
Thiessen emphasized that the GAI report found that 277 other meetings between Obama and cabinet secretaries were made public, and he wondered why meetings between Obama and Sebelius, if they were held, were “not on the public record.” He said if Obama did in fact meet “regularly” with Sebelius, all the White House would have to do is release the dates and number of meetings.
GAI examined the White House visitors logs, the White House calendar, and Politico’s White House calendar to produce its report. The nonpartisan institution has used a similar methodology for other reports, like when it discovered President Barack Obama was missing over half of his daily intelligence briefings.