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Obama: ‘Mistakes, What Mistakes?’

Via the Washington Examiner:

Seven years ago, in April 2004, President George W. Bush held a formal news conference in which he was asked, “What would your biggest mistake be…and what lessons have you learned from it?”  Bush’s hemming and hawing answer — in several minutes of flailing about, he never managed to come up with a single mistake to cite — was widely criticized in the days that followed.

On Wednesday, President Obama held a town hall at the headquarters of Facebook in Palo Alto, California, during which he was asked, “If you had to do anything differently during your first four years, what would it be?”  Obama, it turns out, is no better at analyzing his own missteps than Bush.

What about, I don’t know, Obamacare and the way it was recklessly rammed through Congress?

But the president mentioned no actual mistakes. Next, he brought up the health care battle, not to admit error but to praise the work of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in pushing the national health care bill through Congress.  The fight got pretty complicated, Obama said, “and I’ve asked myself sometimes is there a way that we could have gotten it done more quickly and in a way that the American people wouldn’t have been so frustrated by it?”  Was that possibly a mistake?  Obama quickly excused himself.  “I’m not sure I could have because there’s a reason why it hadn’t gotten done in a hundred years,” the president explained.  “It’s hard to fix a system as big as health care and as complicated as our health care system.”  After a good bit of talking, Obama still had not mentioned any mistake or anything he would do differently.

Nat Brown — Nat Brown is a deputy web editor at Foreign Affairs and a former deputy managing editor of National Review Online.

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