This is a rush transcript from "Journal Editorial Report," November 9, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," ObamaCare panic. The president gets an earful from Senate Democrats nervous that ObamaCare will hurt their hopes for re-election.
And Chris Christie's landslide, easily reelected as New Jersey's governor and winning the majority of women and Hispanics. But is he a model for the GOP?
All that, plus, America's schools get their report card. Find out who's making the most improvements.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
As more ObamaCare problems plague the White House, President Obama now apologizes that Americans are losing their health care coverage when he originally promised that they would be able to keep it, period. Now even Democrats are admitting that healthcare.gov should be shut down until it's fixed, and made that proposal to Kathleen Sebelius this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MAX BAUCUS, D-MONT., SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE: You've indicated that delays health care for a lot of people, and -- and I appreciate that. But if you want more time, why not just get it done right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIGOT: And this week, 16 Democratic Senators met with the president at the White House to express their concerns about the health care glitches. 12 of those Senators voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and face re-election next year.
Joining the panel this week, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger; editorial board member, Joe Rago; and Washington columnist, Kim Strassel.
So, Dan, this is not a president who apologizes for much. Recently, he just said we're going to grind it out. I think that's a direct quote. We're going to grind it out on ObamaCare. Why the switch on the apology?
DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: I think after what are he's been through with ObamaCare the last two weeks and that meeting with the 15 Senators, he had to stop the political bleeding on this problem. He had to do something. So he's apologized to the American people. Problems remain that are going to be very difficult to reverse. First of all --
GIGOT: But do you think that apology's sincere? Is that just a tactical shift to try to say I feel your pain?
HENNINGER: I think it's a tactical shift, saying I feel your pain.
This is a president, as you just said, who said that you can keep your policy or your doctor's period.
HENNINGER: That statement was false, period, OK? He can't reel that back no matter how much they try to rewrite it. Speaking of rewriting, these 15 Senators I think are now themselves literally only discovering what was in the law. They knew the broad outlines but they didn't understand tht the law, to work, was going to require some people lose their policy or lose their doctors so that the costs saved there could be transferred over to the law's other provisions. If they understood that, they themselves might not have voted for it. They can't reel that back. That is the law, as the White House says over and over.
GIGOT: Kim, how much panic is there, if that's not too strong a word, among Senate Democrats?
Because there was a lot of hand holding. The president saying, don't worry, we're going to get this fixed by the end of November. This is temporary. This will all be over, just a short-term problem. But are they -- do they believe them?
KIM STRASSEL, WASHINGTON COLUMNIST: Paul, you can smell the fear rising up off the pavement down here in Washington. There's a lot of nervousness.
That being said, there's a little bit of a double game going on here. You have growing numbers of Senate Democrats, House Democrats jumping on board with legislation to delay or change or make sure that people can keep their health insurance. On the other hand, they have been told by the White House that this website is going to be fixed by the end of November.
GIGOT: Right. Right.
STRASSEL: So I think some are stringing this out. They're hoping it does get fixed before they have to pull the pin on any legislation. If it doesn't get fixed, they're going to be in a much tougher spot. But the groundwork is being laid to actually make some big moves here.
GIGOT: That's the thing. I mean, I don't see them, any of these Democrats proposing real substantive changes to the bill or even, for that matter, a substantive delay in the bill. These are token gestures. Well, we'll just wait for six weeks before the enrollment period or something or we'll delay the penalty for a few weeks. But none of that addresses the real heart of the legislation. That's the problem.
STRASSEL: No, that's right. What you're going to see, next week, for instance, is House Republicans are going to try to actually put them on the spot, exert some pressure. So, for instance, House Republicans are going to have a vote on legislation, guaranteeing that people can keep their existing health coverage for another year if they want it. We'll see how many House Democrats vote for that. If that vote is big enough, there could be pressure on the Senate to do that as well.
GIGOT: Yeah, I would say there will probably be at least 20 or 30, maybe more House Democrats will vote for that as political cover.
But I want to ask Joe about a sentence the president said on his policy statement. He said, "Obviously, we didn't do a good enough job in terms of how we drafted the law -- crafted the law," unquote.
Wait a minute. They knew exactly what they were doing when they crafted the law. Am I wrong?
JOE RAGO, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: No. Actually, if you look at the wording of his apology, he's not sorry that people are losing their policies. He's sorry that they're mad that they're losing their policies.
It's sort of I'm sorry you feel that way.