In 2008, it was questionable that PBS NewsHour and Washington Week anchor Gwen Ifill could moderate the vice-presidential debate as she was writing a book called “The Breakthrough” about the rise of Barack Obama and other black liberal politicians. On Thursday night, Ifill will cross another Obama line by acting as emcee for a fundraiser for the LGBT health and advocacy group the Whitman-Walker Clinic that will honor Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services for her work in implementing ObamaCare.
The invitation says “Please join Gwen Ifill, managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent for the PBS News Hour, and the Whitman-Walker family as we honor United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius for advancements in health care.” To be an "event host" and be listed on the program requires a $1,000 donation. Individual tickets are $150.
John Riley at Metro Weekly magazine says Whitman-Walker advocates praised Sebelius's work in implementing the “Affordable Care Act” (ObamaCare) “to ensure better access to health care for millions of Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions, and to provide support to community health centers like Whitman-Walker.”
''Secretary Sebelius is such a driving force for improving access to high-quality, cost-effective health care for all Americans and particularly the LGBT community and people living with HIV/AIDS,'' Don Blanchon, WWH's executive director, was quoted as saying in a press release. “Her work is making a huge difference in the lives of communities that are underserved or marginalized when it comes to accessing quality health care. She is a most deserving recipient of the Partner for Life award.''
This is not Ifill’s first emcee job for a Whitman-Walker fundraiser. In 2004, she emceed an event called “Divas of a Lifetime” at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. There's no information on whether Ifill is paid for these appearances. Washington PBS superstation WETA -- which produces both Ifill shows -- did not return a call for comment.
Past recipients of the “Partner for Life Award” include Bill and Hillary Clinton, Tipper Gore, and Ted Koppel.
In May, Whitman-Walker’s legal-services program will throw its annual “Going the Extra Mile” fundraising event offering its Joel A. Toubin Memorial Award to Bill Clinton. In 2009, that award went to Attorney General Eric Holder.