(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Ashley Williams and Jessica Durando, USA TODAY Network
October has been a rough month for President Obama. He's mad about the Healthcare.gov rollout, calling the technical snafus "unacceptable." Earlier this month he said the American people were fed up with Washington over the 16-day government shutdown. And he was right. Forty-seven percent said Congress would work better if nearly every seat changed hands next year, according to a new poll. Coupled by today's less than stellar jobs report, the president has had his hands full.
Here's a look at the challenges Obama grabbled with this fall:
1) A Modest Jobs Report
Although several reports fueled hopes for a strengthening job market in September, the latest report unveiled Tuesday did not meet those expectations. Employers added a disappointing 148,000 jobs compared to the 180,000 economists originally forecasted. The unemployment rate fell to 7.2% from 7.3%, the Labor Department said.
2). Healthcare.gov faces scrutiny
After much criticism, including by Obama himself, the government brought in Verizon Wireless to fix the federal health exchange website. The Department of Health and Human Services indicated users having issues creating accounts and logging into the site. The new Web portal lags the rest of the industry in terms of performance and the sad part is, experts say it could have been avoided with more testing prior to launch.
Obama spoke about the glitches on Oct. 21, saying, "There's no sugar coating it, the website is too slow, people are getting stuck in the application process and, it's safe to say, nobody is more frustrated than I am." Obama, however, reminded the American people that the product itself is "a good deal." But Congressional Republicans swore the site issues were a reflection of the Affordable Care Act itself.
3). Approval Rating Down
Obama's job approval rating for the past three months averaged 44.5%, a drop of more than three percentage points from the previous quarter, Gallup reports.
It's not the low point for Obama - he hit 41% in the third quarter of 2011 - but the recent legislative battles surely took a toll on the president's popularity.
4) Government Shutdown and the Debt Ceilng. Enough Said
In the end the president stood his ground. He refused to negotiate over the U.S. debt ceiling, saying he would not allow it to become "a bargaining chip to set policy." USA TODAY deemed Obama a victor in the government shutdown, albeit a slightly bruised one. "He's going to have to fight another battle pretty quickly," says Patrick Griffin, chief congressional liaison in the Clinton White House. "But he may have won a war on using the debt limit this way."
The narrow deal that ended a 16-day standstill did not include any major revisions of the Affordable Care Act. It includes a stopgap measure that would fund the government through Jan.15, and suspend the debt ceiling until Feb. 7.
White House Jay Carney refused to call it a win for Democrats. "There are no winners here," he said. "The American people have paid a price for this."
The cost? Estimates put the figure anywhere between $12 billion and $24 billion for the U.S. economy--$1.5 billion per day. Consumer confidence also fell drastically. The Bloomberg Consumer Index dropped to its lowest level since March.