Obama agenda: Getting past the website

Obama on an OFA call: "We're still going to have to make sure that we don't use the website alone to sign people up," Obama said. "What I want to do is make sure that everybody on the phone call understands that we've always understood that we're going to have to enroll people by mail, we're going to have to enroll people over the phone, we're going to have to enroll people in person."

USA Today: “The White House said on Monday that it's exploring an alteration in the president's health care law which would enhance consumers' ability to shop directly for coverage through insurance companies.” It all basically comes down to whether the insurers can offer the federal subsidies, which they aren’t currently allowed to. But insurers don’t necessarily WANT to take on that responsibility: “Insurers are hesitant to take on income verification, and Republicans and administration officials have expressed concerns about keeping consumers information private. Insurers also don't want to bear the burden of determining subsidies out of concern that they can be left financially responsible for consumers who end up receiving subsidies less than they estimate.”

New York Times: "Senior Obama administration officials, including several in the White House, were warned by an outside management consultant early this year that the effort to build the site was falling behind and at risk of failure unless immediate steps were taken to correct the problems, according to documents released by House investigators. The report, by McKinsey & Company, which was prepared in late March at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services, said that management indecision and a “lack of transparency and alignment on critical issues” were threatening progress, despite the tight deadline."

AP: “Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Monday said he regretted his ‘clumsy phrasing’ in singling out white suburban moms for opposing new higher academic standards. Duncan has consistently shown little patience for critics of the Common Core State Standards, being implemented in 45 states and the District of Columbia.” Duncan said Friday in Richmond: "It's fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn't as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn't quite as good as they thought they were, and that's pretty scary.”

President Obama’s approval is down to 38%, but Congress is at 9% in a new Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll.

Washington Post: "The flawed rollout of the Affordable Care Act has pushed President Obama to the lowest point of his presidency, with dwindling faith in his competence and in many of the personal attributes that have buoyed him in the past, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Opposition to the new health-care law also hit a record high in the survey, with 57 percent saying they oppose the president’s most significant domestic initiative. Forty-six percent say they are strongly against it. Just a month ago, as the enrollment period was beginning, the public was almost evenly divided in its assessments of the law."

Just 38% think the health-care law should be repealed, an overwhelming majority of whom are Republicans, according to a National Journal/Princeton Survey Research poll. Another 58% say either wait and see how things go before making changes or provide more money to ensure it is implemented effectively. Ron Brownstein: “Amid all the tumult over the law's troubled implementation, the survey found that public opinion about it largely follows familiar political tracks and has changed remarkably little since the summer on the critical question of what Congress should do next.”

Josh Rogin details the foreign-policy feud between Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, the woman many believed was Obama’s first choice to be secretary of state. Rice wanted Kerry to make strong pubic and private statements in Egypt condemning the treatment of Morsi in Egypt. But Kerry refused, instead saying Egypt is “on the path to democracy.” Said an administration official: “John Kerry doesn’t agree with Susan Rice on big portions of our Egypt policy, and he made a deliberate and conscious decision not to mention Morsi in his Cairo meetings. Susan Rice wasn’t happy about it.”

Another example: “During a months-long administration review of U.S. military aid to Egypt, the State Department and Defense Department pushed internally to preserve most of the assistance, while the White House insisted most military aid be suspended, pending more progress by the Egyptian government.”