WH Chief of Staff: Problems 'On Me'

'As you know, the website didn't work the way it should have on October 1. That's on us. That's on me'

December 3, 2013

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough appeared to take some personal responsibility for the technical failure of Tuesday in remarks at Georgetown University:

DENIS MCDONOUGH: Let me talk for a minute about that marketplace, As you know, the website didn't work the way it should have on October 1. That's on us. That's on me. As soon as we realized there were problems, we put an A team of experts to work, and as promised, the website is working better now and will work better tomorrow than it is today, and by the weekend, better than then. It will continually improve.

As of two days ago, the team has doubled the website's capacity. It can handle 50,000 users at once, or over 800,000 users a day, comfortably. The average response time has gone from eight seconds to under one second, response time being the measure of time to click from one page to another in the site. The number of people successfully enrolling in health plans is climbing, while the error rate has gone from 6 percent to -- (audio break) -- inching closer to industry standard for such websites. So we're getting back on track and will keep improving the site, as I just said, to ensure that it's best for users.

We're making the site more user-friendly. The new waiting room we instituted yesterday -- instituted yesterday functioned pretty well.

The White House chief of staff follows Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and President Obama in offering a personal apology for the failed Obamacare rollout.

McDonough also repeated an increasingly tenuous claim the website can handle 50,000 users at once. CNN reports the actual capacity is somewhere between 30,000 to 40,000 visitors: