“I think he might have been better off by standing up and saying this happened up on my watch and take responsibility for it. I think that’s better than saying he didn’t know,” said veteran Democratic strategist Bob Shrum. “I think people expect the president, on his signature program, to be on top of it.”

“The president’s certainly got some work to do in getting people focused on his agenda,” added Democratic operative Jamal Simmons, who floated the idea of the administration bringing in an adviser from outside Obama’s close-knit inner circle to shake-up internal thinking. “Mainly it just seems that the White House has been reacting to issues as they arise and not getting out there and setting the agenda.”

David Axelrod, a former top aide to Obama, told NBC News that the president needs to be vocal in his response.

“Internally, I’m sure that there is a lot, a lot of strong words being exchanged between the president and people who are accountable for some of these things that have cropped up here,” Axelrod said. “He needs to show some of that in public, he needs to show some of that edge, some of that anger. Because after all, the Affordable Care Act is something he ventured much of his political capital on, and he believes deeply in it.”