Obama seeks to deflect blame for health care troubles on Republicans
In the face of falling public support for his job performance and signature health care law, President Barack Obama on Tuesday tried to shift some of the blame to a group of lawmakers with ratings even lower than his: Republicans in Congress.
“One of the problems we’ve had is one side of Capitol Hill is invested in failure, and that makes, I think, the kind of iterative process of fixing glitches as they come up and fine-tuning the law more challenging,” the president said Tuesday at a forum hosted by The Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Obama acknowledged the repair efforts would extend beyond correcting the troubles with the HealthCare.gov site. “We’re going to have to obviously re-market and re-brand, and that will be challenging in this political environment,” he added.
Making that task even tougher: another poll that shows the president’s job approval mark sinking to a new low. According to a CBS News survey released Wednesday, 37 percent of Americans approve of Mr. Obama’s handling of the presidency, while 57 percent disapprove. (Worth noting, President George W. Bush was at 35 percent in this survey at this point in his presidency.)
Feelings toward the president’s health care law are even worse off, with 31 percent of respondents saying they approve of the program, compared with 61 percent who disapprove.
Despite the rocky rollout of the initiative, there does not appear to be a groundswell of support for repeal. Slightly more than four in 10 respondents said they wanted to see the law undone, while 48 percent said the program does some good things, but needs changes to make it work better. Only seven percent of those surveyed said the law is working fine and should be left as is.
The picture gets even dimmer when it comes to how Americans feel about Republicans in Congress, with only 21 percent saying they approve of the job GOP lawmakers are doing, while 73 percent disapprove.
House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that given all the issues with the law, Republicans remain committed to seeing that the law is “scrapped.”
“You know, it’s not just Americans who are getting their cancellation notices that are upset, it’s everything that follows. What we’re seeing here is a pattern of broken promises from the administration,” Boehner said.
GOP lawmakers also kept after the administration for answers about early warning signs that the online exchange would not be ready by early October, and on how much work with the site is left to be finished. A top health care official testified Tuesday that up to 40 percent of IT systems supporting the website still need to be built. The NewsHour’s coverage of the hearing is here.
But the New York Times finds a bright spot for Mr. Obama, who meets Wednesday with state insurance commissioners. The newspaper reports that some states are seeing strong enrollment and low numbers of insurance plan cancellations.
FOUR SCORE AND SEVENTY YEARS LATER
We revisited the Gettysburg Address on its 150th anniversary, with Jeffrey Brown reporting that at just 270 words long, it remains one of the most memorable speeches in American history. He also examined its enduring legacy and how a speech with so few words came to effect such great meaning with Drew Gilpin Faust of Harvard University and historian Richard Norton Smith of George Mason University.
Also marking the occasion, Ken Burns has launched a new project featuring the five living presidents, celebrities and media figures — including our own Gwen Ifill — to “Learn the Address.”
The Senate is voting on a defense authorization bill. Central to the debate are sequestration, policy questions about detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and proposals to tackle sexual assault in the military. Time’s Jay Newton-Small has more here on how female senators have made the issue a major quest.
Politico’s Manu Raju and Jake Sherman see signs of hope that Budget leaders Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan could compromise on a fiscal blueprint. They write: “House and Senate appropriators are putting major pressure on Murray and Ryan to cut a deal setting overall spending levels so they can more easily write legislation to keep federal agencies running past Jan. 15, the deadline to avoid another government shutdown. In a sign of the intensifying talks, Murray and Ryan met Tuesday as they race to see whether they can broker a compromise before their own Dec. 13 deadline, potentially by the first week of December.”
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he is considering a change to filibuster rules to get some of Mr. Obama’s judicial nominees through. Gwen Ifill on Tuesday fielded a debate between the two ideological sides at the heart of the judicial confirmation argument. Watch:
Rep. Trey Radel, a freshman Florida Republican, was arrested in D.C. late last month on charges of misdemeanor cocaine possession. He will be arraigned Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court.
Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds, a Democrat who lost his a bid for governor in 2009, was recovering in a hospital Tuesday after a tragedy in his home. Authorities said Deeds’ son, who had recently been evaluated for mental illness, stabbed him and then fatally shot himself. Politicians from both parties offered an outpouring of support after the news shocked the commonwealth. The Washington Post has more here.
Former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris’ husband was found dead in an apparent suicide.
The partial government shutdown was a moneymaker for House Democrats. Roll Call reports that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised about $7 million in October and will report more than $25 million in cash on hand.
Bloomberg’s Julianna Goldman reports that at a meeting this month, White House officials asked business leaders how they can best help Speaker John Boehner.
Public Policy Polling released a survey Tuesday that showed Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran is facing a tough GOP primary fight against Chris McDaniel. Cochran leads his challenger by a 44 percent to 38 percent margin, according to the automated poll. Still, a majority of GOP primary voters in the state said they would prefer a ‘more conservative’ alternative to the six-term incumbent.
GOP Rep. Phil Gingrey’s Georgia Senate campaign staff is going through a shakeup.
Rep. Charlie Rangel tells Roll Call’s Emma Dumain that race is a factor in the Senate GOP’s filibuster of Mr. Obama’s judicial nominees. Rangel said: “No one makes a big deal of it, but if you’re a fly on the wall in any of their homes — I’ll tell you what: If you track the Confederate Army to the Dixiecrats, to the conversation of the Republicans, to the districts that were affected, you may be dealing with different labels, but if they were ever able to track down their ancestors, there’s a Confederate general in every damn living room.”
Jose Antonio Vargas’ documentary about his life and immigration policy, “Documented,” was purchased by CNN and will be broadcast next spring.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee photoshopped an image of Alison Lundergan Grimes onto “Obamagirl” of 2008 fame, prompting charges of sexism.
The pink suit Jackie Kennedy wore the day her husband was shot will not be displayed until the year 2103. The former first lady sent it to the National Archives to be preserved.*
This very cool image is believed to be the earliest photograph taken of the White House in 1846.
- The New York Times explores what might become of the Walter Reed site in Washington.
Why is health care so much more expensive in America than in other countries? Harvard’s David Cutler has answers in his extended conversation with Paul Solman on the Business Desk.
- Judy Woodruff interviewed Susan Rice about Iran. Watch here or below.
Brawling dinosaur skeletons are a big seller, apparently.
Blank on Blank stars Grace Kelly.
- Keep an eye on the Rundown blog for breaking news throughout the day, our home page for show segments, and follow @NewsHour for the latest.
— Ethan Klapper (@ethanklapper) November 20, 2013
So, uh, strong gusts of air blowing outta these ducts and into the Capitol hallway. Ok! pic.twitter.com/S9M7IAbUxP
— jennifer bendery (@jbendery) November 19, 2013
.@PRyan on 2016: 'I have presidential sized policy ambitions, question is do i have presidential sized political ambitions'
— Andrew Rafferty (@AndrewNBCNews) November 19, 2013
Actual inbox headline: Interview of the First Lady by Bow Wow and Keshia Chante.
— Christina Bellantoni (@cbellantoni) November 20, 2013
— Terence Burlij (@burlij) November 20, 2013
KSM throwing some serious shade at Ayotte pic.twitter.com/ioYKFJMyI7
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) November 19, 2013
GWB has branched out into cat portraits: pic.twitter.com/Yx1WDUgdXf
— Suzy Khimm (@SuzyKhimm) November 19, 2013
— Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) November 19, 2013
— NRSC (@NRSC) November 19, 2013
— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) November 19, 2013
*This item has been corrected.
Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.
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