SEATTLE - "We are open for business for health care for the people of the state of Washington," declared Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
It was supposed to be a celebration of the start of the new Affordable Health Care program. But there was a major glitch. The highly touted website to sign up was offline for a big chunk of the day.
"Yes, we went into maintenance mode around 8-30." It was left to Michael Marchand, the program's spokesman, to explain how a site that went live at 4 this morning could have gone off line so quickly.
"Some people were able to go through the application process with no issues," said Marchand. "Other people were experiencing some slowdown. Pages weren't loading."
So Marchand said the decision was made to take the site down.
"As opposed to trying to fix the tire as it's getting flat while you're driving the car, it's much easier to pull over to the side of the road and get the situation resolved," he said.
Only Monday, we asked whether the site would be ready for an onslaught of visitors? And we were assured it would be.
Washington Health Exchange CEO Richard Onizuka insisted, "We've tested it, we've stressed it."
And yet the site was down on this first day for six long hours.
I asked Marchand if it was an embarrassing.
"No, not so much,' he said. "I'm a little disappointed because I'm a perfectionist. But I'm not so much embarrassed."
The site finally came back up at about 2 o'clock Tuesday afternoon.