President Barack Obama's apology to Americans who are losing their healthcare coverage under Obamacare was "lame" — and "it was little, and it was late," veteran pollster John Zogby told Newsmax on Friday.
"Basically, it was a 'gotcha' moment," he said in an exclusive interview. "He had said on several occasions, and he made it clear, that those with existing plans needn't worry. Then, as the program rolled out, after the glitches, this was like a one-two punch — and this was the second punch, which was that he had misrepresented.
"The apology was like, if I beat you up to a pulp, and then I say I'm sorry that you were beaten up to a pulp …," Zogby laughed, adding, "Enough said."
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Zogby was among several political observers and Capitol Hill Republicans who shared their views on Obama's admission with Newsmax on Friday.
Many attacked the apology, which came during an interview with NBC News on Thursday, saying that Obama's words provided little solace to the millions of Americans who are losing their coverage or doctors under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
"I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," Obama said in the White House interview.
"We've got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them — and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this."
"He made an assurance, and he wasn't able to provide that assurance," Zogby told Newsmax. "So let's just call that a misrepresentation. It still doesn't help. He hurt himself."
Rep. Fred Upton, the Michigan Republican who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he was glad that Obama "fessed up, but that's not good enough for people
who have lost their coverage."
"People are losing their doctors. These are people with pre-existing conditions. Maybe they've survived cancer, a whole number of different things. An apology isn't enough, not to the people that I've spoken to," he said.
Upton has introduced legislation that would allow Americans to keep their health insurance if they want to. Sponsored with his fellow Wisconsinite in the Senate, Ron Johnson, the bill could be voted on by the House as early as next week.
Meanwhile, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer told Newsmax TV's "The Steve Malzberg Show" that Obama's apology proved "he's not the Superman he said he was — and he's not even a competent governor. He leads from behind on foreign policy, and he doesn't lead at all on domestic.
"The apology he offered was no apology at all," Krauthammer continued. "He apologized for the dislocation people are feeling, but he needs to apologize for misleading the country into believing that the vast majority of Americans who are happy with their healthcare would be left alone — and it turns out that this is exactly what people like me have been arguing for five years. It is a complete disaster."
Rep. Tom Cole called Obama's mea culpa "too disingenuous to accept."
"He promised the American people that his law would provide plans that save families of four at least $2,500 on healthcare," the Oklahoma Republican told Newsmax. "Now, families are expecting higher costs or losing plans that many already found satisfactory.
"Why should Americans believe the president on Obamacare now? They cannot, they should not — and they will not."
More broadly, however, Zogby told Newsmax that the president's acknowledgment, no matter how "lame," would most likely be as good as the American public was going to get.
"Politically or governmentally, it's not in his best interest to say, 'I really messed up. I lied ... I didn't know what I was talking about,'" he said. "A president does have to generate some confidence and also stir in people a sense that, 'Hey, I know what I'm doing.' That's the best possible spin on this."
"But the problem for him is coming after the fallout from the disastrous rollout. This, at very best, comes under the category, 'Who needs this?'
"The bottom line is that the misrepresentation certainly did not help him — and it certainly played into the arguments made against Obamacare," Zogby said.
But will the president's concession instill Americans' confidence in him as well as his signature domestic policy achievement?
"The honest answer is I don't know," Zogby responded. "What will stir confidence is if the website glitch is truly taken care of and people are able to sign up. And, if there is a remedy for anyone losing their plan."
"But right now, where we stand — freshly, at this moment — the apology is certainly not enough," he said.
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