Obama: ‘We fumbled the rollout’

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A chastened President Obama admitted Thursday his administration had “fumbled the rollout on this healthcare law.” [WATCH VIDEO]

{mosads}Saying early technical glitches with the website and a broken promise that Americans could keep their health insurance were “on me,” the president told reporters he heard “loud and clear” growing frustration with his signature legislation.

“We have to ask ourselves some hard questions inside the White House why we didn’t see more of these problems coming on,” the president said.

The president admitted that he “did not have enough awareness about the problems with the website” and that he did not realize the extent of the technical problems until after the launch. 

And he said of the American people that it was “legitimate for them to expect me to have to win back some credibility on this healthcare law.”

“We should’ve done a better job getting it right on day one. Not on day 29 or day 40,” Obama said.

The president’s tone was muted and conciliatory, acknowledging the political quagmire that has grown from his signature legislation.

Obama conceded he had “underestimated” the complexities of the insurance process, walking back his promises from before the exchanges launched that would be like booking an airline ticket online.

“Buying health insurance is never going to be like buying a song on iTunes,” Obama said.

“What we’re also discovering is insurance is difficult to buy,” he added.

Controversy over the legislation has dominated Washington since the end of the government shutdown nearly a month ago, and hammered the president’s poll numbers.

A Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday showed Obama’s approval rating had dropped to 39 percent — the president’s lowest ever. It also showed a majority, 54 percent, disapproved of Obama’s handling of his job.

The implementation has also spooked congressional Democrats worried about their looming reelection campaigns. In the House, Democrats have signed on to Republican legislation that would allow insurance companies to continue offering existing plans that didn’t meet ObamaCare standards. Blue Dog Democrats in the Senate offered their own version.

Obama bluntly acknowledged the law was a political liability on his allies.

“There is no doubt our failure to roll out the ACA smoothly has put a burden on Democrats, whether they’re running or not, because they stood up and supported this effort through thick and thin,” Obama said.

“I feel deeply responsible for making it harder for them, rather than easier for them, to continue to promote the core values that led them to support this thing in the first place.”

The president did say that he did not believe that the political fallout of the botched rollout should stop his other legislative efforts, like immigration reform.

“There is no reason for us not to do immigration reform. We’ve already got strong bipartisan support,” Obama said.

And he rejected criticism that his administration was too insular, saying that he meets regularly “with an awful lot of folks.”

But the president returned frequently to sports metaphors during his nearly hour-long press conference. 

“This is two fumbles on a big game. But the game’s not over,” Obama said.


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