Kathleen Sebelius quietly charmed one governor's business-executive dinner guests in Colorado and publicly berated another for his Medicaid stance in Pennsylvania. She surprised a Republican governor in Utah with her flexibility and disappointed a Democratic one in West Virginia with her lack of timely answers.
Sebelius, the 65-year-old Health and Human Services secretary, has had to get creative with the task of selling President Barack Obama's health-care law to an often skeptical—– sometimes hostile—group of governors.
That has meant schmoozing, bargaining, and sometimes browbeating state executives whose jobs she knows well. She served as governor of Kansas from 2003 until 2009 and her father, the recently deceased Jack Gilligan, held the job in Ohio from 1971 until 1975.