Monday’s hot talk on the political circuit:
By STEVE KRASKE
The Kansas City Star
• A “night and day” difference. — Jeff Zients, the top administration official responsible for improving the Obamacare enrollment site, about the difference in the HealthCare.gov site on Oct. 1 and Dec. 1.
The administration now claims the website works “smoothly for the vast majority of users.” This should, over several months, begin to change the narrative about the troubled program. But it’s going to take some time, and that assumes there are no more major glitches.
• “Is the president competent to do his job?” — former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a Republican, on CNN debating President Barack Obama’s ability to do his job.
“I fail to see how it has anything to do with the president’s competence. I lose my patience with this nonsense.” — former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a Democrat, on the same show.
Give the nod to Dean on this one. There’s no question Obama is competent. We can disagree on policy. But (a) he is a legitimate U.S. citizen and (b) he’s capable of doing the job.
• “I don’t think so.” — California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, when asked on CNN if the U.S. is safer than it was a year or two ago.
Surprising answer from the veteran senator. But Feinstein, apparently, was just being frank. Terrorism is up. Fatalities are up, she said. New bombs have been developed. More terrorism groups than ever roam the globe. And, she added, hatred is up, too.
• “This is an effort to repair whatever damage they felt may have been done in ’08.” — The Rev. Al Sharpton on Hillary Clinton’s ongoing efforts to repair relations with African American leaders following the acrimonious 2008 campaign.
Sharpton went on to say that the Clintons “know that there are some who have lingering questions, if not antipathy, towards them.” All this stems from the 2008 Democratic primaries when Bill Clinton dismissed Obama’s big South Carolina win by pointing out that Jesse Jackson carried the state twice. That remark, and others, infuriated black leaders. The Clintons have been reaching out in recent months to repair the damage. The good news for her: She has time.