Between the countless allusions to “The Wizard of Oz” and plenty of failed metaphors, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee has been more than a little odd. Things got even weirder, though, when the oldest member of Congress took time out of questioning Sebelius over Obamacare website HealthCare.gov and started asking her whether he once saw her riding a tricycle in Kansas.
Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, is the oldest member Congress member at age 90, and the oldest person to ever serve in the House, so it makes a certain amount of sense that his turm at the microphone would be a little weird. At one point, Hall made light of his own age by joking with Sebelius that he would “try to be here in 2014 to be sure your testimony’s correct.”
When the joke went over Sebelius’ head, Hall took a more surreal approach to congressional humor.
“Were you born in Kansas? In Meade, Kansas?” Hall asked.
“I was not,” Sebelius responded. “I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. I married a Kansan and went to Kansas.”
“All right. I was in the third grade there and thought I saw you on a tricycle there one day,” he said.
“Well, it was an illusion,” she replied, clearly somewhat confused.
Sebelius is a former governor of Kansas. Her father, the late John Gilligan, was governor of Ohio.
Eric Brown is an IBTimes political reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.