Congressman says Sebelius remark was a joke
By MARY CLARKIN
Special to The Hays Daily News
Texas Congressman Ralph Hall said he was trying to put a little levity into the Congressional hearing Wednesday, when he said he thought he saw Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius riding a tricycle in Meade when he was in grade school there.
Hall, 90, wasn't joking, though, about going to school in Meade.
Hall said his father worked for the oil pipeline and the family moved frequently. They often stayed in places only months, even living in a tent along the pipeline in Missouri where there weren't motels. In Kansas, they lived in the Hutchinson and Emporia areas, too, Hall recalled.
Sebelius appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to testify about problems with the health insurance enrollment website.
Questioning took an unusual turn when the Texas Republican representing a district east of Dallas asked Sebelius if she was born in Meade, Kansas.
"I was not. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. I married a Kansan and went to Kansas," Sebelius, 65 and a former Kansas governor, answered.
"I was in the third grade there, and I thought I saw you on a tricycle there one day," Hall said.
"Well, it was an illusion," Sebelius said.
The exchange drew media attention and made it on YouTube.
Back in Texas on Thursday, Hall said, "I was just trying to say something funny to let her get her breath. I just thought she needed a laugh."