The excuses for the Obamacare failure continue to mount, but President Obama delivered what is probably his best excuse yet Thursday at his press conference.
CBS’s Major Garrett recounted that President Obama and individuals within the White House were informed two weeks prior to the health exchange’s launch that the website had failed most basic tests. Garrett proceeded to ask President Obama if he had made those tests and if so, did he regret it.
President Obama weakly replied "…I was not informed directly that the website would not be working, as the way it was supposed to. Had I been informed, I wouldn't be going out saying, ‘Boy, this is going to be great.’ You know, I'm accused of a lot of things, but I don't think I'm stupid enough to go around saying ‘This is going to be like shopping on amazon or Travelocity’ a week before the website opens, if I thought that it wasn't going to work"
The full exchange is available below:
Q: Thank you, Mr. President. 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? That's one question.
Second question. (Laughter.) You were informed or several people in this building were informed two weeks before the launch of the website that it was failing the most basic tests internally; and yet a decision was made to launch the website on October 1st. Did you, sir, make that test (sic)? And if so, did you regret that?
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PRESIDENT OBAMA: OK. On the website, I was not informed directly that the website would not be working as — the way it was supposed to. Has I been informed, I wouldn't be going out saying, boy, this is going to be great. You know, I'm accused of a lot of things, but I don't think I'm stupid enough to go around saying, this is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity, a week before the website opens, if I thought that it wasn't going to work.
So, clearly, we and I did not have enough awareness about the problems in the website. Even a week into it, the thinking was that these were some glitches that would be fixed with patches, as opposed to some broader systemic problems that took much longer to fix and we're still working on them.
So you know, that doesn't excuse the fact that they just don't work, but I think it's fair to say, no, Major, we — we would not have rolled out something knowing very well that it wasn't going to work the way it was supposed to, given all the scrutiny that we knew was going to be on — on the website.