Trust divide: Democrats distanced from Obama after health care debacle

by
December 1, 2013

WASHINGTON — A month after emerging from a government shutdown at the top of their game, many Democrats in Congress newly worried about the party’s re-election prospects are for the first time distancing themselves from President Obama after the disastrous rollout of his health care overhaul.

At issue, several Obama allies said, is a loss of trust in the president after only 106,000 people — instead of an anticipated half million — were able to buy insurance coverage the first month of the new “Obamacare” websites. In addition, some 4.2 million Americans received notices from insurers that policies Obama had promised they could keep were being canceled.

“Folks are now, I think in talking to members, more cautious with regard to dealing with the president,” said Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee and one of the first leaders in his state to endorse Obama’s presidential candidacy six year ago.

Cummings, the White House’s biggest defender in a Republican-controlled committee whose agenda is waging war against the administration over the attack in Benghazi, the IRS scandal, a gun-tracking operation and now health care, said he still thinks Obama is operating with integrity. But he noted that not all his Democratic colleagues agree.

“They want to make sure that everything possible is being done to, number one, be transparent, (two) fix this website situation and, three, to restore trust,” Cummings said.

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