Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was very near the top of President Barack Obama's list of candidates to head the Health and Human Services Department, a senior administration official said today. No decision has been made, but the former Kansas insurance commissioner was rising as a candidate to replace Tom Daschle, who withdrew his name amid an admission he had not paid taxes.
Sebelius was an early Obama supporter, picking his presidential campaign over Hillary Clinton's. Sebelius worked tirelessly for Obama's bid and was a top surrogate to women's groups. Advocacy groups like the consumer watchdog role 60-year-old Sebelius played as insurance commissioner for 8 years before she became governor. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen has also been on Obama's list to run the nation's massive health programs.