April 11th, 2014
11:19 AM ET

Official: Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Resigning

Kathleen Sebelius - who weathered heavy criticism over the flaw-filled launch of the Obamacare website, then saw the program through as it topped a major milestone - is resigning as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, a White House official said Thursday.

President Barack Obama intends to nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, current director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace Sebelius, according to the official.

A former Kansas governor and, before that, state insurance commissioner, Sebelius was sworn in as HHS secretary in April 2009.

Her time as head of the federal health agency coincided with the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the bill often referred to as Obamacare.

Sebelius came under fire last fall for the rocky rollout ofHealthCare.gov, the website central to the new law's implementation.

Watch this story and more from "Inside Politics" with John King above.

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March 14th, 2014
09:58 AM ET

Inside Politics: GOP Debate Over Policy and Personalities

It's getting personal on all fronts as Republicans debate the wisdom of their leaders - present and future.

Two leading GOP 2016 contenders, the freshmen Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, are in a public spat over foreign policy that quickly became framed around what seems to be the perennial GOP question: Who is the heir to Ronald Reagan?

And while that plays out, two of the right's outspoken and at times outlandish voices are in a war of words over whether conservatives should see Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell as a hero or a heretic.

These debates are entertaining and interesting, not to mention telling snapshots of the struggle within the Republican Party and conservative movement to find a consensus message - and acceptable messengers.

Some of it should look familiar to Democrats who remember the years between Mondale '84 and Clinton '92: a party in exile from the White House has no singular leader, and so has more open, and vocal, competition over policy and personalities.

Then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton and his merry band of Democratic Leadership Council centrists argued the Democratic Party was too liberal, too tied to big labor and too afraid to talk about things like work requirements in welfare programs.

No, perhaps they didn't have the notoriety of today's tea party. But those were not exactly days of Democratic unity. "Democrats for the Leisure Class," was the label Jesse Jackson put on Clinton and the DLC.

It was great political theater, and like the Republican tug-of-war today an instructive look at the tensions in a party that at the time was strong at the congressional level but not credible at the presidential level.

My, how the tide has turned. Republicans now control the House and have a good chance to take control of the Senate in this year's midterm elections.

See more at CNN.com/Politics.

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January 6th, 2014
10:38 AM ET

Liz Cheney to Abandon Senate Bid

Liz Cheney, whose upstart bid to unseat Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi sparked a round of warfare in the Republican Party and even within her own family, is dropping out of the Senate primary, she said in a prepared statement Monday morning.

"Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign," she said.

Cheney, the eldest daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, began telling associates of her decision over the weekend, CNN reported late Sunday night.

"Though this campaign stops today, my commitment to keep fighting with you and your families for the fundamental values that have made this nation and Wyoming great will never stop," she added.

Cheney's surprising decision to jump into the race, an announcement made in a YouTube video last summer, roiled Republican politics in the Wyoming, a state that Dick Cheney represented in Congress for five terms before moving up the Republican food chain in Washington.

Enzi was a low-key presence in Washington who was elected in 1996 and, with few blemishes, amassed a conservative voting record in the Senate. He expressed public annoyance at Cheney's decision to mount a primary challenge. A number of his Senate colleagues quickly rallied to his side and pledged support for his re-election bid.

There was little public polling of the race, but two partisan polls released last year showed Enzi with a wide lead, an assessment mostly shared by GOP insiders watching the race.

Cheney's campaign got off to a rocky start.

Her critics labeled her a carpetbagger, noting that she moved to Wyoming only in 2012 after relocating from Virginia. The issue flared in August after the Wyoming media reported that Cheney improperly received a fishing license despite not living in the state for at least a year, as the law requires.

Grabbing even more attention was her very public dispute with her sister, Mary, over the issue of same-sex marriage. Mary Cheney, who is a lesbian, took to Facebook in November to object to Liz Cheney's opposition to same-sex marriage, claiming that her sister has previously supported her relationship while saying something very different on the campaign trail.

The dispute prompted their parents to weigh in, saying they were "pained" to see the sisters battle over a private matter in full view of the news media.

Beyond the campaign missteps, Cheney's election effort, vigorously supported by her father and his allies, often felt out of tune with the small-government conservative sentiment that has fueled other Republican primary challengers.

Cheney, like her father, is an unapologetic neoconservative who favors muscular use of American military power overseas, a policy that does not sit well with many grassroots conservatives, particularly in the libertarian-leaning West.

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