Meet the Press   |  December 01, 2013

3: MTP roundtable on Obamacare site

A Meet the Press panel examines the current status of the Affordable Care Act website and what progress is left to achieve.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

meet the press" is back with our political roundtable. chuck todd , stephanie rawlings-blake, andrea mitchell .

>> welcome, stephanie rawlings-blake, mayor of baltimore , first time on "meet the press." mayor since 2010 , serves on the national democratic committee as well. nice to have you here.

>> nice to be here.

>> the question is how good are things, really, and chuck, there are so many stories about how angry the president is. they want to separate the president from all the problems, but where is the accountability? does someone have to be fired before americans think we're on the right track?

>> if this doesn't turn out to be the fix, if this website fix doesn't turn out to work as well as they're promising right now on various conference calls , what they're promising as far as the public is concerned, then i think you would see republican accountability and some demand for action. all of these reports and all of this weekend sort of placement of where the website is at this point, all of it seems irrelevant to me because we haven't had a real test of the system. they say it can handle up to 50,000 at one time. okay, let's see what happens. they're hesitant to market it this week, and they're not going to -- this is a soft launch, this is a beta test.

>> it's also the fact of what happens when people actually start enrolling and insurers start interacting and bills have to be paid when people put claims in? all those larger tests are so far down the road. it seems to me to put out a fact sheet today and say they have 400 bugs fixed, what kind of bugs? big bugs, little bugs? but the bigger question is also going back to how this happened, what is the management inside the white house ? how much is the president reaching out to outside advisers? is he only consulting with friends who are his top advisers inside the white house , or is he really getting the best opinion behind the management consultant trying to fix this.

>> here's something put out in the " washington post " by dan balz . by almost any measure, this has been a lost year for obama on the domestic front. the flawed rollout of the health care law , the most important initiative of his tenure, has been a huge setback.

>> i think that's a bit of an overstatement. a lost year? focusing on trying to get more people affordable health care ? at the end of the day , everyone knows, we can all agree the rollout could have been, should have been better. but underneath all that is democrats and the president trying to make sure the people have health care . that is the side that we should be on, not this sort of is it right, is it wrong, should he be mad about it, should he not be mad about it? this is about making sure people can live.

>> can government be nimble, can government learn from its mistakes? i would say the website is just a small symptom. government slik an offensive lineman. it can do blocking, it can create order. when you ask the government to be a wide receiver , you're asking them to do things they can't do. republicans win elections when the government asks them to do things they can't do.

>> page three of the report it says here, the team is reacting with high pressure velocity and effectiveness. that's an acknowledgment that, you know what, this was a government operation for a long time and it failed. now we're bringing in the private sector folks. that is an indictment on the whole idea of government as a solution, frankly, when you look at this.

>> and the president as a manager, and people around him who can get the bureaucracy to move in a particular direction, which is not easy, but this is your point on how nimble government is.

>> the challenge is i think the goals are laudible, mayor, and it's something the president articulated brilliantly as an election and reelection mantra. but this is a tough bet, and he had a responsibility to make sure the rollout was not this disastrous in order to achieve these goals. because now they're at risk of losing the credibility of government as an agent of change.

>> republicans are insist he nent in relentless pursuit of failure. we have democrats, we have republicans, nobody is rooting against each other. we know that when cities succeed, the country succeeds. in congress, we have people that are standing on the sidelines rooting for failure. we know the rollout was botched. but democrats are focused on trying to build and trying to fix it.

>> i'm just saying the president gave his opponents, and you can certainly make the argument that he has had this monolithic republican opposition in congress, and that's a good and valid excuse. but he gave them a weapon against him.

>> you're conservative about saying, look, you have a big idea . you have to execute.

>> people said that about iraq, too, so we've had a couple execution failures. i asked president obama , what did you learn being president that you haven't learned before? he said there is a passive government. government can do things really well, social security , move checks here and there really well. this sort of nimbleness, this is a lot tougher. adjustment to failure, a lot tougher. it doesn't mean you're hating government all the time, but there are a lot of roles.

>> i've been studying america and the enlightened period of the individual liberty as a real source of the government experience, and yet in more modern times that government should, as you were saying, mayor, play a role to do good, to use its power to actually fix big societal problems, but we do have this in conflict because the goal to do good to a lot of people feels like telling them what to do.

>> that's right. there's always been this retrenchment of collectiveness on one hand, and especially you're bringing up the early period. you know, this country was divided. sort of the northern part you had the initial settlers were okay with collectivism, but the folks that integrated and migrated to the south weren't that way. health care is just the icing on the cake . where is immigration? his push for guns? rebuilding trust in government? there were all these things that he thought in the second term, this his election to validation of a second term was going to do, and it's not just a lost year, it's a setback.

>> here's another aspect of it. we look ahead to 2016 . hillary clinton and health care . we've done some checking on this and hear republicans talking a lot about hillary clinton in this context. listen.

>> if you like your plan, you can keep it? that was not accidental. that was following the lessons from the fight over hillary care . what took hillary care down is that people realized, holy cow , i might lose my health insurance , i might lose my doctor.

>> who ever thought this was going to work? but i have to tell you, this is really hillary care .

>> we can't forget she was the original author of hillary care back in, i believe, 1983 , and that would have been a disaster as well.

>> i would think they would be a little more artful. the leading candidate is clearly obvious. i don't think it shows them being agile in putting forth what they would do, because they have offered nothing.

>> they're sticking to the playbook. they've tried 50 times to repeal it, and for what? we know the system is broken. what's the fix?

>> the republican really messed up with the government shutdown , we have the obama website. suicide will be a concern next. we'll see.

>> what the government worries about in terms of the website, if we're talking about this in the same way come january, then all of a sudden, the candidates out there, a lot of democrats have taken tough votes. they'll be hard pressed to go out there and do the same thing.

>> this is republicans hoping that if she say hillary care , she'll step in. they almost want to divide the party.

>> coming up, the roundtable is going to be coming back. as we give thanks this holiday weekend, harry smith will have the pointed story of the victim of the boston ma