On Sunday's NBC Today, co-host Lester Holt wondered if Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had "successfully separated herself now from this trouble" with the ObamaCare website failure. He further asked: "Is her job safer than it was maybe a week ago?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A somewhat puzzled David Gregory, moderator of Meet the Press, replied: "Well, I think her job may be okay for the moment. But I don't think she's separated herself from it....all of these problems really do undercut the potential effectiveness of ObamaCare, whether it can be affordable to insure more and more people. If they don't achieve that, there are enormous problems....enormous problems for how it works for years to come."
Holt's question was all the more detached from reality by the fact that only hours earlier the opening skit of Saturday Night Live specifically targeted Sebelius for mockery over the disastrous rollout of healthcare.gov.
On Monday's Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander introduced a clip of that skit by noting: "Sebelius will be grilled by lawmakers after already becoming a punch line on Saturday Night Live."
On Saturday's Nightly News, Holt once again discussed the failed ObamaCare rollout with Gregory, but this time their roles were reversed. After Holt asked, "How much damage is being done?," Gregory was the one to don the rose-colored glasses:
As I talked to White House officials they say, "Look, if by the end of November Jeffrey Zienst is proved right, they're able to get this under control," then they can move on....And those opponents who are saying, "Oh, see, they couldn't even get people enrolled," if that issue is taken away, then where is the rest of the opposition to ObamaCare?
Here is a transcript of their October 27 exchange on Today:
LESTER HOLT: The administration has a lot of headaches right now. I want to turn your attention to the ObamaCare website that they continue to struggle with, now talking about getting it online perhaps by the end of November. Kathleen Sebelius, HHS secretary, is going to testify before Congress this week. Has she successfully separated herself now from this trouble? Is her job safer than it was maybe a week ago?
DAVID GREGORY: Well, I think her job may be okay for the moment. But I don't think she's separated herself from it.
You know, as I've talked to people, there was a certain – they've described a certain siege mentality about, you know, what they were facing to get this thing up and going by October 1st. And it's true that Republicans have been not exactly excited about ObamaCare's roll-out and wanting to see it work.
But all of these problems really do undercut the potential effectiveness of ObamaCare, whether it can be affordable to insure more and more people. If they don't achieve that, there are enormous problems for this problem. Not that it goes away, but enormous problems for how it works for years to come.