“There are going to be ups and downs during the course of my presidency,” Obama said. “I think I said early on when I was running, I am not a perfect man and I will not be a perfect president.”

He didn’t seem to consider that this may not be part of the usual ups and downs. And though he deserves credit for his apologies — seven times during his news conference, he said the problems with Obamacare are “on us” or “on me” — it’s not likely that the public’s loss of trust will be repaired no matter how often or how genuinely he says “my bad.”

Even as he accepted responsibility for the debacle, he couldn’t resist transferring some blame to the assembled press (“the things that go right, you guys aren’t going to write about”) and to Republicans (“repeal, repeal, let’s get rid of this thing”).

But Obama seemed genuinely puzzled by the notion that his leadership may have been the cause. He dismissed a question about whether his administration may be too insular (“I meet with an awful lot of folks”).