“President Barack Obama is citing the Massachusetts health care system’s slow start to keep expectations low for early sign-ups for his own overhaul,” AP notes. “And he’s pointing to the bipartisan effort to get the program launched in Massachusetts to encourage his opponents to stop rooting for his law’s failure. The president planned to speak about the embattled law Wednesday from Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall, where Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney was joined by the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy to sign the state’s 2006 health care overhaul bill. There’s been no such bipartisanship surrounding Obama’s effort.”
“President Barack Obama wants Americans to believe this about his health care law: It’s just like Mitt’s,” Politico writes. “After all, the White House used the 2006 Massachusetts health program signed into law by Republican Mitt Romney as its blueprint for the national model. And in case anyone missed the message last year during the presidential campaign, Obama will repeat it again Wednesday.”
A new Public Opinion Strategies (R) poll shows that 70% favor delaying the penalties for the individual mandate by one year, given all the website difficulties.
Unaware… “To his critics, President Barack Obama often has seemed to be conveniently distant when trouble has hit his administration,” Reuters writes. “But on Tuesday, Obama was hit with a public-relations crisis that struck at the core of his domestic and foreign policy - one that raised questions about whether he had misled Americans on his signature healthcare overhaul, and whether he really was unaware of the U.S. government's alleged spying on its allies.”
That’s something Dana Milbank trains his focus on. His lede: “For a smart man, President Obama professes to know very little about a great number of things going on in his administration.” He adds, “It stretches credulity to think that the United States was spying on world leaders without the president’s knowledge, or that he was blissfully unaware of huge technical problems that threatened to undermine his main legislative achievement. But on issues including the IRS targeting flap and the Justice Department’s use of subpoenas against reporters, White House officials have frequently given a variation on this theme.”
More donors to ambassadors: “President Barack Obama is nominating two supporters who raised hefty sums for his re-election campaign to be U.S. ambassadors,” AP reports. “The White House said Tuesday that Robert Barber is Obama’s pick for Iceland. Obama has also tapped Mark Gilbert, a former Chicago White Sox player, to be his envoy to New Zealand. Both were members of the Obama for America national finance team, and both raised more than $500,000 for Obama’s campaign.”
The Hill: “An agitated President Obama has expressed frustration to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the faulty ObamaCare enrollment website. A visibly annoyed Obama behind closed doors has made clear to Sebelius that it’s her responsibility to fix what has become an unwanted second-term blunder, according to senior administration officials. White House officials say the strong words from Obama don’t mean Sebelius is necessarily in the doghouse but that she’s responsible for fixing the problem. In the words of one senior administration official, ‘She’s in a tough spot. She’s on the hook.’”
The head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services put the onus on insurance companies for kicking people off plans they had previously, not the health-care law.
The Washington Post’s fact checker gives Obama four Pinocchios for having said that “no one will take away” your health plan.
First published October 30 2013, 6:11 AM