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Sources: Obama rejected 'perfect' replacement for Kathleen Sebelius

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White House,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Barack Obama,Health and Human Services,Kathleen Sebelius

The White House, under fire for botching the launch of Obamacare and jeopardizing upcoming Democratic elections, rejected a “perfect” replacement for embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, according to sources.

Obama’s team was urged to consider former two-term Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a former health insurance executive who completely fixed the state’s beleaguered health care system set up during the Clinton years.

“They are making a serious mistake saying no to him,” said a knowledgeable source. “He completely turned around Tennessee’s system and he’s the perfect choice to fix Obamacare,” added the source of the former Democratic governor and Nashville mayor.

Bredesen was a finalist for the HHS job after Obama was elected, but the president went with Sebelius, the former Kansas governor.

It is not clear how high up in the White House Bredesen's allies pushed his name, though it didn't matter since Obama has shown no inclination to dump Sebelius.

His latest rejection came about two weeks ago. Around that time, according to another source, Bredesen was in Washington. He is associated with the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center. “He would be perfect with his health, management and IT background; he would be one of few with the confidence and courage to take the job in the midst of this storm; and he has nothing better to do right now,” added the source.

This week, he criticized the administration's weak effort to fix Obamacare. “You can't just throw bodies at it,” he said. “If you just hire a whole bunch of people and send them out to try to fix a complicated system like that, it's like getting nine women together in a room and saying produce a baby in one month. It just doesn't work quite that way.”

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.