President Obama’s approval rating is now just 37% in a new CBS News poll, down from 46% in October. Approval of the health law dropped to just 31%, the lowest number in the poll, down from 43% last month.
NBC's Carrie Dann: "President Barack Obama said Tuesday that his administration ‘underestimated’ the difficulty of launching the troubled HealthCare.gov web site but that political partisanship is also to blame for the law’s poor rollout. ‘I think that we probably underestimated the complexities of building out a website that needed to work the way it should,’ Obama said during an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib as part of its ‘CEO Summit.’”
Washington Post: Obama "sought to redirect some of the political blame for the botched rollout of the federal health insurance exchange to Republicans, characterizing GOP lawmakers as rooting for the law’s failure."
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent on what to watch for IF the health-care website is working. “If the federal website is mostly operational by the end of the month, it’s likely we’ll see a massive flood of advertising from insurance companies selling new plans over the exchanges. The advertising that was placed on hold may simply resume –and it may be heavily concentrated in December and the three months in 2014 leading up to the March 31st enrollment deadline.”
A National Journal poll finds people think the health-care law will help the poor (59/34), but not the country overall (42/51) or the middle class (39/53).
“With the distribution of medals to prominent Americans and a visit to the eternal flame that marks John F. Kennedy’s gravesite, President Barack Obama is honoring the slain president’s legacy two days before the nation pauses to remember the 50th anniversary of his assassination,” AP notes. “Wednesday’s day of tributes starts at the White House, where Obama is to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to more than a dozen prominent Americans in fields ranging from politics and entertainment to sports and science. Former President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and the late astronaut Sally Ride are among this year’s recipients.”
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, President Obama wrote a hand-written tribute that is 272 words, the exact length of Lincoln’s address. Obama writes that he reads an original copy of the address in the White House and lingers on the words “a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Obama follows up, “He knew that even a self evident truth was not self executing; that blood draw by the lash was an affront to our ideals; that blood drawn by the sword was in painful service to those same ideals. … At times, social and economic change have strained our union. But Lincoln’s words give us confidence that whatever trials await us, this nation and the freedoms we cherish can, and shall, prevail.”
“President Barack Obama personally appealed to senators Tuesday to hold off on seeking additional sanctions on Iran while the U.S. and other world powers negotiate a nuclear deal with Tehran,” AP reports. “Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who attended the White House meeting, said Obama asked lawmakers to pause for ‘a period of time.’ Corker did not specify how long the president asked lawmakers to wait.”
First Lady Michelle Obama talked last night on the BET show 106 & Park about her first date with President Obama, which included Picasso, Do the Right Thing, and drinks at a fancy bar at the top of a Chicago skyscraper.
Former President George W. Bush was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and said, “You have to believe in what you’re doing, first and foremost. I relied upon my faith, my family helped a lot and I had a good team around me and did the best I could do. I’m also very comfortable with the fact that it’s going to take a while for history to judge whether the decisions I made are consequential or not. And therefore I’m not too worried about it. … My attitude, if they’re still writing biographies of the first guy, the 43rd guy doesn’t need to worry about it.”
He stayed away from criticizing President Obama: "I don't think it's good for the country to have a former president criticize his successor.”
Vice President Joe Biden is 71 years old today.