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Obama agenda: Pushing it back

Politico: “The Obama administration is working to push back a deadline to prevent people who buy insurance during Obamacare’s open enrollment from being hit by the law’s individual mandate penalty, a Health and Human Services official said Wednesday. Right now people must to sign up by Feb. 15 if they want to avoid paying the penalty — even though there are six weeks left in the enrollment season.”

The Hill: “The White House is delaying the deadline to buy health insurance by six weeks amid growing House Democratic concerns that the ObamaCare enrollment site’s botched rollout will prevent them from winning the House in 2014.”

Norm Ornstein: “To be sure, every major rollout of a new or changed social policy, including Medicare itself, is rough and takes weeks or months to resolve. But this rollout is clearly worse, and, as we learn more about its history over the past six months and more, the failures in vision and execution, in the face of clear and blunt warnings of problems ahead, are striking and troubling.”

George Condon: “With a mess this embarrassing on something so important to so many people, somebody needs to be fired. Somebody needs to be held accountable. Firmly demanding a ruthless, unsparing accountability could be the president's last best chance to avoid the political damage that plagued the last three years of George W. Bush's presidency.”

(But is accountability with a website the same thing as accountability for a war/occupation gone badly?)

From Boston, NBC’s Alex Moe reports HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius talked only briefly about the Affordable Care Act, but only alluded to the problems associated with the site. “As the president reminded the American public on Monday, the new law is more than a website.” Sebelius is expected to testify before Congress next week on the website’s rollout.

The event had a focus on mental health, and Vice President Biden said that “By the end of this year, we are going to take a major step into final rules for mental health parity. … We are at the cusp of remarkable, remarkable change.”

AP: “President Barack Obama is using the bully pulpit to insist that Congress pass legislation overhauling the nation’s immigration system. Obama will issue that call to Congress when he speaks Thursday in the East Room of the White House.”

“Call the caterer, and fuel up Air Force One. President Barack Obama is launching an intense fundraising push for Democrats that will take him to more than a half-dozen states before the end of the year,” the AP adds. “In all, Obama has scheduled at least nine fundraisers from Florida to Texas to California, and first lady Michelle Obama plans a 10th event. Benefiting from the presidential appearances will be the national Democratic Party, plus the campaign committees that raise money for Democratic House and Senate candidates.”