From HuffPo’s Jennifer Bendery:
The Sebelius/Burwell announcement was open press, but I wanted to give you a little color….
The event lasted just over 20 minutes. Rows of gorgeous, multicolored tulips lined the edges of the Rose Garden, which kept photographers and Instagram users preoccupied before the event kicked off.
The front row of seats was filled with Cabinet Secretaries, including Shaun Donovan, Gina McCarthy, Anthony Foxx, Tom Vilsack and John Kerry, who slipped in just as the event began and got a chuckle out of POTUS for being tardy. Other admin officials spotted were Valerie Jarrett, Jeff Zients, Tina Tchen and Shailagh Murray.
Sebelius got several standing ovations and periods of sustained applause from the crowd as POTUS ticked off her accomplishments. She also got a couple of “hey! hey!” cheers from POTUS as the applause went on. Sebelius appeared mostly stoic during the event, but when POTUS threw out the 7.5 million figure, she smiled broadly as the crowd once again gave a standing ovation.
POTUS acknowledged the terrible initial rollout of the Obamacare enrollment website that took place on Sebelius’ watch. “She’s got bumps. I’ve got bumps, bruises,” he said, but “the final score speaks for itself.”
Sebelius said her time as HHS Secretary has been “the most meaningful work I’ve ever been a part of.” She got some chuckles from the crowd when she noted a page was missing from her prepared remarks, and quickly wrapped up her remarks.
Burwell stood smiling throughout the entire event.
As POTUS, VP, Sebelius and Burwell walked off the stage, one WH reporter overheard POTUS say something by a hot mic to Sebelius about a “party.” No word on if or where this party is happening.