Obama Defends Achievements Following Health Care Plan Woes, Poor Poll Numbers
WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — Days after revelations that his approval rating had hit an all-time low, President Barack Obama reviewed his record in office in his weekly radio address Saturday and took aim at his Republican rivals.
Obama began by conceding that Americans have a good reason to be frustrated with their elected officials.
“Over the past couple months, most of the political headlines you’ve read have probably been about the government shutdown and the launch of the Affordable Care Act. And I know that many of you have rightly never been more frustrated with Washington,” he said. “But if you look beyond those headlines, there are some good things happening in our economy. And that’s been my top priority since the day I walked into the Oval Office.”
Obama said since he has come into office, America has “fought (its) way back” from a crushing recession.
“Our businesses have created 7.8 million new jobs in the past 44 months. Another 200,000 Americans went back to work last month,” he said.
Obama also said the American auto industry has “come roaring back with 350,000 new jobs,” ad said the nation has decided to “reverse (its) addiction to foreign oil” since he has been in office.
“And today, we generate more renewable energy than ever, more natural gas than anybody, and for the first time in nearly 20 years, America now produces more oil than we buy from other countries,” he said.
While acknowledging that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been less than ideal, Obama said the effort to “fix a broken health care system” is benefiting Americans.
“So far, about 500,000 Americans are poised to gain health coverage starting January 1st. And by the way, health care costs are growing at the slowest rate in 50 years,” he said.
Obama also said the federal government has “cut (its) deficits in half” since he took office.
He said the fact that bipartisan action has been absent is to blame for the fact that more has not been accomplished.
“Imagine how much farther along we could be if both parties were working together. Think about what we could do if a reckless few didn’t hold the economy hostage every few months, or waste time on dozens of votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act rather than try to help us fix it,” he said.
Obama said he soon intends to talk about plans for the future.
“In the weeks ahead, I’ll keep talking about my plan to build a better bargain for the middle class. Good jobs. A good education. A chance to buy a home, save, and retire. And yes, the financial security of affordable health care. And I’ll look for any willing partners who want to help,” he said.
Only 37 percent of Americans surveyed approve of the job Obama is doing. Fifty-seven percent disapprove — an all-time high.
Only 32 percent of respondents said they support the way the president is handling health care — down from 40 percent in September and another low for him.
Obama did not mention his poll numbers in the radio address.
The rollout of Obama’s signature health care law has been disastrous. First, technical problems prevented many Americans from accessing the marketplace website and signing up for medical insurance.
In recent weeks, Obama has been doing damage control after his repeated promises that Americans who liked their health plans could keep them under the law proved to be false when millions had their insurance canceled.
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