Frustrated HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius to questioner: ‘Whatever’

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Kathleen Sebelius

(CNN) — She had been in the congressional hot seat for two and a half hours. And many Republicans had been waiting just as long to ask her questions.

When Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Mississippi, got his chance, he pounded away at Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hard enough to elicit a rare, audible sign of frustration from her.

Sebelius blurted out a word common to exasperated teenagers and zen masters alike, “whatever.”

It came after Harper repeatedly asked if President Barack Obama should be seen as responsible for the HealthCare.gov problems.

The first two times, Sebelius answered that she was responsible for the debacle, that it was her job.

And so Harper, asked a final and third time: “It is the President’s ultimate responsibility, correct?”

Sebelius gestured toward him and the search for words found only frustration.

“You clearly, uh,” (then a small pause, followed by), “whatever.”

The Secretary put both her hands in the air, briefly, then resumed.

“He is the President. He is responsible for government programs,” she concluded.