And so we finally reach Step 5 of The One’s damage-control protocol. There’s nothing interesting about this except the politics of it: He had to undo Napolitano’s moronic gaffe from Sunday and the perception that he wasn’t taking this as seriously as everyone who isn’t lounging on Waikiki this week, so here’s the obligatory two-birds-with-one-stone CYA. The choice of the words “systemic failure” is, needless to say, no accident.

Note the bit near the end about how even a system firing on all cylinders isn’t foolproof. Politico anticipated that this morning as security option number five.

Update: Good lord, Barry. If you’ve lost Jennifer Loven…

The Obama administration claim that “the system worked” after a failed aircraft bombing wasn’t quite as jolting as President George W. Bush’s “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job” when New Orleans was sinking under deadly Hurricane Katrina. But both raised disturbing questions about presidential response in a time of crisis…

Amid those questions, administration officials’ repeated statements Sunday that “the system worked” were jarring. They made it sound like the administration doesn’t get it, like it is paying too much attention to political fallout and too little to public fears…

For Obama, still short of one year in office, his narrative, critical or otherwise, isn’t set yet.

Nonetheless, rumblings keep resurfacing about emotional distance, even coldness. Whether it’s Wall Street bonuses or terrorist near-disaster, people wonder whether he feels as they do or ever acts out of passion.

Tags: Barack Obama