The hot talk on this Tuesday morning:
By STEVE KRASKE
The Kansas City Star
• “There’s no sugarcoating it. The website has been too slow. People have getting stuck during the application process. And I think it’s fair to say that nobody’s more frustrated by that than I am. Precisely because the product is good, I want the cash registers to work.” — President Barack Obama addressing his signature health care program Monday in the Rose Garden.
The president is asking the American people for a little patience as the new program gets up and running. But with Republicans pounding away (see next quote), the president knows the clock is tick-tick-ticking. This thing has got to get figured out — and fast.
• “Now the president wants more time to get it right. How many more months will this take? January 1 is right around the corner.” — Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican.
With a Tea Party challenger on his right, Roberts is running hard against Obamacare and taking every opportunity to sound off against it. This comment came after the president spoke on the issue Monday.
• “I hope President Obama has a greater appreciation for the role of oversight and orders his secretary to fully cooperate with all congressional inquiries.” — House Speaker John Boehner in a statement Monday in which he urged Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to appear at a House committee hearing this week.
So far, Sebelius is resisting, saying she’ll testify next week. But that doesn’t satisfy Boehner who wants more information about the problems with the rollout of Obamacare. Sebelius, though, is no dummy. She knows that an appearance before a GOP-led House committee will be little more than a spectacle and a chance for Republicans to once again lambast the program.
• “The Republican image, unfortunately, is one in which we have an empathy gap.” — former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, who’s now working for a group called the American Unity Fund, which seeks to soften the GOP stand on gay marriage.
Here’s another issue where the GOP is splitting. Coleman’s group is pushing a middle ground when it comes to gay rights by advocating for a ban on workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The group has its work cut out. None of the leading potential Republican presidential candidates support gay marriage.