Todd Takes Carney to Task Over Obamacare Flop: ‘Who Misled the President on This?’

• October 21, 2013 2:14 pm


NBC's Chuck Todd bluntly asked White House spokesman Jay Carney Monday who "misled" President Obama by letting him make promises about the Obamacare website that it has been simply unable to meet.

Carney said Obama was frustrated and focused on making improvements, but Todd kept asking who "let him down" and continued to pound away at the administration's inability to explain what has gone so wrong with the website:

CHUCK TODD: Five days before the launch, the president said it's a website where you can compare and purchase affordable health care plans, the same way you shop for a plane ticket on Kayak. Who misled him? Who misled the president on this? Are you telling me five days before that somebody let the president go out to the American public to give this speech and say this and make this promise? In fact, the next line is: I promise you, this is a lot easier, it's like booking a hotel or plane ticket. Who let him down?

JAY CARNEY: The president's frustrated. He made that clear in his remarks today, and we're focused on making improvements so that the millions of Americans who want affordable health insurance are getting the best consumer experience possible, as opposed to Monday morning quarterbacking.

TODD: Is he let down? Did somebody —

CARNEY: Again, what I'll tell you as I mentioned earlier, I think, is that there's no question that the volumes exceeded substantially expectations and that the testing that was done was based on —

TODD: Adding a server would have fixed it in a heartbeat. That isn't the issue, right?

CARNEY: I"m pretty confident you're not a —

TODD: I am not a computer science guy.

CARNEY: — you haven't written code in your day.

TODD: I understand that but if this were simply a traffic issue, that's fixable fast, isn't it?

CARNEY: What I would tell you is, as I said earlier, is that the volume far exceeded expectation and the volume both created problems because of how large it was and exposed other problems and glitches and kinks with the system that are being addressed. You're not going to get an argument from here that this has not been frustrating. The president himself made that clear, but what he's focused on is making the consumer experience better for Americans, because even through this process, nearly 20 million folks — there have been nearly 20 million visits to That demonstrates a sustained interest in the array of affordable health care options available to the millions of Americans who haven't had these options available to them in the past.

TODD: Why should we assume, when HHS puts out in this blog post last night, that they brought in this tech surge, brought in people on the outside? That seems to send the message they don't know what the problem is. Is that fair? Shouldn't you assume — you do know what the problem is?

CARNEY: I think you should assume that they've identified problems and glitches that need to be fixed and that they brought in this team to continue the effort and put in place the tools and processes to monitor and identify parts of the website where individuals are examining —

TODD: If you knew the problems, would you not be screaming up and down, ‘We have found the problem, we're working on a solution.'

CARNEY: I think we are finding problems and we're working on solutions. I can't — When you have tech experts at any major tech operation, you're constantly monitoring your operations, finding glitches and problems and fixing them, and that's what they're doing here.