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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

OBAMA ON THE HOT SEAT

Fox News has reported today what difficulties of lack of trust and lack of options Obama faces in the Affordable Care Act debacle.

The White House is trying very hard to pretend that the world isn’t falling to pieces right now – sending President Obama off to Ohio to tout global warming curbs and his economic plan and then on to another fundraiser tonight. But as new enrollment numbers show, the prognosis for Obama’s central policy ambition looks dire. It’s becoming increasingly clear that ObamaCare is headed for some major surgery in Congress. So what does the president want to do? For a chief executive famous for an inability to deal with lawmakers, even of his own party, the weeks ahead look perilous. Democrats, including most moderates and some liberals, are decrying the administration’s botched rollout and decision not to honor Obama’s campaign promise to allow Americans to keep their health plans. And the president has precious little political capital to bring them around to protecting his law.

[One month ago, the Fox New poll showed Democrats leading Republicans by 8 points in the generic congressional ballot. Now, Republicans lead by 3 points.]

A damaged brand – A new Fox News poll finds half of respondents believe the president knowingly lied when he made the notorious “you can keep it” pledge, while 40 percent said Obama didn’t know that the promise wouldn’t be kept. Nearly 60 percent believe the administration knew ahead of time that people would be kicked off their insurance because of the law, and 55 percent think the White House has “tried to deceive” people about it. As for his recent apology to Americans losing their health insurance because of ObamaCare, a majority believe it was “mostly for political reasons.” That trust breach has badly damaged the president. Obama’s job ratings have sunk to an all-time low, with 55 percent disapproving of his performance. Perceptions of his leadership skills are also in trouble. Voters are three times as likely to view his leadership as poor (39 percent) compared to excellent (13 percent). On the issues: a record-high 61 percent disapprove of Obama’s handling of health care, and an even higher 66 percent disapprove of the president’s handling of the deficit.

Can you believe in change? – Over the past two weeks, the White House has been trying to draw a new firewall on changes to ObamaCare. Administrative fixes turned into an openness to talking about legislation to, on Wednesday, praising a bill from Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., that would force President Obama to honor his campaign pledge. Today, Senate Democrats will meet with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to vent and strategize. A similar session on Wednesday with House Democrats got quite heated, with several lawmakers coming out fuming. House members face a painful vote Friday as Republicans bring forward a plan to allow all Americans to enroll in any current policy, even if it is banned by ObamaCare. A senior House Democrat told the administration, “No more excuses, just get it done!” To further complicate matters, officials working on healthcare.gov told a House Panel Wednesday they were unsure of how much it would cost to fix the site, after $600 million has already been spent.  [

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