Politics & Government

Kansas Gov. Sebelius still in the mix for Cabinet post

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius remains a finalist for secretary of health and human services, although President Barack Obama has not selected his nominee.

A new round of speculation about Sebelius' prospects arose Wednesday with a report in The New York Times that Obama had already "settled" on Sebelius.

But a White House spokesman told The Kansas City Star that "no decision has been made."

Sebelius, 60, has been mentioned for weeks as a leading candidate for a Cabinet job that would be closely involved in an expected attempt to enact sweeping reforms in health coverage.

Sebelius could not be reached for comment Wednesday night, but her spokeswoman, Beth Martino, said she knew nothing about the renewed speculation and had not spoken to Sebelius about it.

"As far as I know, she is really focused, as is evidenced, on the budget and the economy," Martino said. "She's the governor, that's her job, and that's what she's doing."

If Sebelius were to step down, Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson of Olathe would become governor.

Obama's first pick for the job was former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, who withdrew over his failure to pay $128,000 in taxes until he was nominated.

Other names mentioned in recent days for the health and human services post were John Podesta, President Bill Clinton's chief of staff; Jacob Lew, a former deputy secretary of state for management and a former director of the Office of Management and Budget; and former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.

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