Another video has resurfaced of MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, this one showing the Obamacare architect speaking candidly about guns while claiming that the National Rifle Association is holding “hostage” President Barack Obama’s nominee for Surgeon General.
“By the way you have now permanently prevented yourself from winning a high elected office in the United States despite your charisma,” Harold Pollack told Gruber at the end of a three-part interview about Obamacare recorded in April, predicting the backlash Gruber is facing by months in advance.
“You know they’ll be playing this tape back in an endless loop with a guy with a deep voice in the background,” Pollack predicted.
Gruber doubled down, segueing from speaking openly about Obamacare to another topic.
“I’ll guarantee it further by highlighting that guns are a public health issue,” Gruber said.
That prompted Pollack, who operates the website HealthInsurance.org, to mention Vivek Murthy, a British-born doctor whose nomination to Surgeon General has been blocked in the Senate.
“Your friend and mine Vivek Murhty has made the mistake of making that observation,” Pollack said to Gruber.
“Just tragic,” Gruber responded. “It’s unbelievably sad, I mean not just because he’s a great guy, you know that the NRA can just hold the surgeon general hostage is just crazy.”
Murthy was criticized after sending a tweet in 2012 which read “Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns, putting lives at risk b/c they’re scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue.”
That comment led to a contentious Senate confirmation hearing. The NRA and other gun rights advocates contend that gun ownership is a constitutionally-protected right rather than a public health issue. Designating firearms as such could lead to increased regulation, gun rights supporters claim.
Obama’s nomination of Murthy has also been criticized on other grounds, including Murthy’s young age as well as his open political support for Obama.