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Obama health care woes becomes credibility fight
The comparisons to Bush already are percolating.
"This is an unfolding disaster politically, in a way that's something like the Iraq war was for the Republican Party," said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. "If they don't get this fixed they're going to pay a horrific political price."
Democrats are well aware that they could be caught up in that web if the health care problems aren't solved quickly.
Even after Obama announced a change in the law aimed at helping some people whose coverage has been canceled, 39 House Democrats voted for legislation opposed by the White House that would let insurers sell individual health coverage that doesn't meet the law's new standards to anyone who wants it.
"My constituents are pretty upset, and so am I," said Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., who is considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the House and voted for the measure. "The rollout has been a disaster.
Obama's mea culpa in the White House briefing room Thursday was a first step in trying to reassure his party and recapture the public's trust.
Shortly after he spoke, his chief of staff, Dennis McDonough, went to Capitol Hill to try to soothe concerns from worried Democrats. On Monday, Obama planned to try to shore up support from some of his strongest supporters in a conference call hosted by his political arm, Organizing For Action.
But the president knows it will take more than words to save his second term.
"I'm the head of this team," he said. "We did fumble the ball on it, and what I'm going to do is make sure that we get it fixed."
Associated Press writers Henry C. Jackson and Josh Lederman and AP Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.
Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC