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Obama: 2013 had 'ups and downs'

President Obama declined to say whether 2013 had been the worst year of his tenure during a White House news conference Friday.

“I gotta tell you, that’s not how I think about it,” Obama said in response to a question on the point from The Associated Press. The questioner noted the lack of progress on his domestic agenda, the fiasco of the healthcare rollout and his falling approval ratings.

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Just hours before he took the podium, a new CNN/ORC poll showed his approval rating at just 41 percent. That figure was unchanged from the previous month, and is the lowest ever level for Obama in the CNN poll.
But the president said he would never have run for president had he been concerned about poll ratings, which he noted had swung wildly throughout his time in office.

In a not-so-subtle jab at the press, Obama said, “I think this room has probably recorded at least 15 near-death experiences.” But, he added, “I’m going to keep at it.”

In Obama’s initial remarks, he defended the Affordable Care Act and extolled his stewardship of the economy.

“More than half a million Americans enrolled on HealthCare.gov in the first three weeks of December alone,” he said.

In another change to previously stated policy, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced late Thursday that people whose existing health plans are canceled will be exempted from the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate for next year.

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