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Policy: Technology

Joe Biden: President tried to log on to Obamacare website

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,Obamacare,Vice President,Health and Human Services,Joe Biden,Health Care,PennAve,Kathleen Sebelius,Meghashyam Mali,Technology

President Obama tried to log on to the glitch-filled Obamacare website, Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview Wednesday.

“The President tried to get online and my daughter tried to get online. I did not, because it was clear that I wasn't getting online,” Biden told CNN's Headline News about the healthcare.gov website.

The site, which is intended to register consumers in new health insurance exchanges for Obamacare, has been plagued with technical problems since its Oct. 1 launch, embarrassing the administration amid the rollout of the president’s signature domestic achievement.

Critics of Obamacare have seized on the website’s problems, arguing that the entire health reform law is unworkable.

Biden said Obama was unaware before the launch of the problems healthcare.gov would experience and had been assured the rollout would be seamless.

“We were under the impression that it was ready to go. We had the president to his credit seven weeks out saying ‘Are we ready?’ and being told by the pros, ‘Yeah, this looks like its all ready to go,'” he said.

“Neither he and I are technology geeks and we assumed that it was up and ready to run,” said the vice president.

Biden in the interview apologized for the faulty website, calling the problems “inexcusable.” He added that he was “confident” that it would be working by the end of November.

Asked about Biden’s remarks on Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said he was "sure the president has had demonstrated to him the site and the processes around logging in.”

Carney said that Obama is “conversant with technology and is fully computer capable” and added that the president has been “briefed” about the website in the run-up to its launch and after.

“Healthcare.gov is a means to an end, and its one of several means to an end,” said Carney. “What the president is focused on is the end, and the end is providing affordable health care coverage to millions of Americans.”

The administration has tapped former Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients to oversee the “tech surge” to fix the website.

Some GOP lawmakers have called for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to be fired over the botched rollout. Sebelius testified before the House on Wednesday and said she was "accountable" for the website, and vowed it would be corrected.

This story was published at 12:20 p.m. and has been updated.

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