One week after a Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report created a media firestorm by revealing that the official White House calendar and Politico presidential calendar recorded only a single one-on-one meeting between President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, HHS announced it is looking to hire a media firm to help the embattled agency not appear “ignorant and unaware.”
The HHS hiring notice states that it needs assistance in tracking and monitoring media stories so that HHS staff remain abreast of “how the department and its agencies are being cast in the public eye.” Otherwise, states the notice, “HHS leaders can be left ignorant and unaware of what the public, Congress, and stakeholders may be saying and reacting to, thus leaving HHS officials less than fully informed in their decision making processes.”
Last week during congressional testimony, Sebelius appeared flustered when Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), a medical doctor by training, asked her how many one-on-one working meetings she and Obama had in the over three-and-a-half years leading up to the disastrous Obamacare rollout. “A lot,” replied Sebelius. Gingrey then asked whether Sebelius could verify her statement. “I…I…,” she responded, before the chair announced Gingrey’s time for questioning had expired.
The GAI report sparked a flood of news reports and questions during White House briefings with Press Secretary Jay Carney; ABC News, FOX News, NBC News, CNN, Politico Magazine, Breitbart News, TIME, The Washington Post, The Daily Caller, TownHall, The Kansas City Star, NewsMax, and other media outlets have all covered the Government Accountability Institute’s (GAI) report.
Gingrey told Breitbart News he plans to follow up with Sebelius to request a detailed list of dates on which she and Obama met one-on-one, none of which are recorded in the White House official calendar, despite its listing of 277 private meetings with other Cabinet secretaries.
Neither the White House nor HHS have yet produced a list of the unrecorded one-on-one meetings.