Last week President Obama apologized for, and tried to fix, the flawed rollout of Healthcare.gov. It didn't go well, and the foreign press noticed. While America has been less than kind in its coverage of Obama's "if you like you plan, you can keep it (for real)" speech, the foreign press has been impressed by the rare sight of a president admitting he screwed up. Still, that's not helping his approval ratings, and the foreign press has picked up on his record low numbers, his declining political clout, and the barely contained glee of Republicans and conservatives.
France: An "extraordinary mea culpa"
In France, which pays for 77 percent of its citizens' health care costs, the press went easy on the president. Le Monde noted that "Mr. Obama did not try to dodge" the problems with the website, which it called the main, but not sole, culprit of Obamacare's failed rollout. The paper also called Obama's speech an "extraordinary mea culpa," and pointed out the president's criticism of the government's outdated IT procurement process. "Technological failure is particularly galling," for a president who won two elections through online campaigning, Le Monde added. Obama's approval ratings, the paper noted, were "almost as low as George Bush in 2006 during the annus horribilis of the stalemate in Iraq." And that's a centrist paper. "The Tea Party could not have dreamed of a catastrophe as overwhelming!" opens the right-leaning Le Figaro, referring to the party as a "conservative, fanatically anti-Obamacare" group that now has to "internalize their jubilation" at Obama's abysmal approval ratings.