President Obama: 'I completely get how upsetting this can be for a lot of Americans... To those Americans, I hear you loud and clear.'
(image by BBC)
President Obama held a press conference today to appease the critics of his Affordable Health Care Plan and head off a battle in Congress over a GOP bill that targets those who will lose their coverage because it fails to meet the new minimum standards.
In other words, it's the usual song and dance between the President and Mr. Merlot in the House, and the media is milking it for all its worth.
Under the Klieg lights, Obama was apologetic about the snafu that will lead to thousands of cancelled policies, taking responsibility for the error and promising that cancelled policies would be extended a full year. He uttered the phrase "we fumbled" and "dropped the ball" repeatedly, as The Washington Post reports:
"Pick your adjective. They all fit President Obama's tone during a surprisingly lengthy statement-turned-press conference in which he announced an administrative fix to make good on his 'if you like your plan, you can keep it' pledge regarding the Affordable Care Act and repeatedly took the blame for the problems with the rollout of the law. He said he had 'fumbled' the ball. Three times. He acknowledged he was unaware of the depth of the problems with Healthcare.gov. And, perhaps most tellingly, he repeated a line from his days on the campaign trail; 'I am not a perfect man and I will not be a perfect president,' Obama said. All told, Obama's demeanor -- and his rhetoric -- represented a marked change for a president who has been typically unwilling to engage in the sort of navel-gazing introspection that the Washington political press corps loves and politicians loathe. And, for a President and an Administration who have come under considerable scrutiny from the White House press corps, the nearly hour-long talk-a-thon from the president was also a startling departure from past precedent."
But his humble recalcitrance didn't stop the assembled press corps from slicing him over his health care "lie" whenever they could.
"Do you feel as though the flawed health care rollout has led to a breach in the public trust and confidence in government? And if so, how do you plan to resolve that?"
"You say, while the law was being debated, if you like your plan you can keep it. You said, after the law was implemented or signed, if you like your plan you can keep it. Americans believed you, sir, when you said that to them over and over. Do you not believe, sir, the American people deserve a deeper, more transparent accountability from you as to why you said that over and over when your own statistics published in the Federal Register alerted your policy staff -- and, I presume, you -- to the fact that millions of Americans would in fact probably fall into the very gap you're trying to administratively fix now?"
"Did you decide, sir, that the simple declaration was something the American people could handle, but this new honest answer you just gave now was something they couldn't handle, and you didn't trust the American people with the fuller truth?"
The late, great (and never to be forgotten) Helen Thomas notwithstanding, where were these hard-hitting, truth-seeking reporters when Raisin Brain was sending our innocent servicemen and women into Iraq to fight a war that didn't exist, except in the boardrooms of Halliburton and Exxon-Mobile? Back in the days when Ari-the-Liar, Scottie-the-Duck, and Doublespeak Dana "too much cappuccino" Perino were at the podium (when Dim Son didn't dare meet the press)?
As Obama said, they won't report the AHA successes, only the mistakes. But that's the American News Machine for 'ya.