David Axelrod is describing Jonathan Gruber in the same terms the so-called Obamacare “architect” has used to describe the American public.
Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, took to Twitter Sunday to slam Gruber for remarks he made demeaning American voters. Those same remarks, which resurfaced this week in a slew of damning videos, include Gruber’s candid statement that a “lack of transparency” was necessary in getting Obamacare passed.
As one who worked hard to make ACA and its benefits clear, let me say: if you looked up “stupid” in dictionary, you’d find Gruber’s picture.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) November 16, 2014
The Obama administration – as well as a number of Democrats, including Axelrod – are seeking to distance themselves from Gruber, but records show the Obama administration paid Gruber $392,600 for his advisory work on Obamacare. Gruber has described himself as “the numbers guy.” Economic models he spent years developing were used to help predict health care spending, and he was key in creating Romneycare, Massachusetts’ health care program upon which Obamacare is based.
Gruber also visited the White House on numerous occasions, and Axelrod was present during at least one of those meetings.
According to White House visitor records, Axelrod and Gruber attended a July 20, 2009 session with Obama and a number of key advisers to discuss the federal health care initiative.
That meeting raised concerns among Republicans at the time because Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), also attended the meeting.
“I noticed that the CBO director was sort of called down to the White House yesterday,” Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said at the time. “It strikes me as somewhat akin as the owner of the team asking the umpires to come up to the owner’s box.”
The CBO is considered an unbiased “referee” in budget scoring matters.
But the non-partisan CBO became a focal point in the Gruber video saga.
At an academic conference held at the University of Pennsylvania last year, Gruber, whose economic models were used to predict how CBO would score the health care bill, told his audience “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.”
“Call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever,” Gruber added during that panel discussion.
And at an event held at the University of Rhode Island in 2012, Gruber explained how one important feature of Obamacare, the Cadillac tax, was snuck past an unsuspecting American public.
“It’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter,” Gruber said.
Obama sought to downplay Gruber’s role in crafting Obamacare on Sunday. (RELATED: Obama Addresses Gruber’s Comments)
“The fact that an adviser who was never on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is not a reflection on the actual process that was run,” Obama told reporters in Australia.