President Barack Obama and a long list of Democrats are now arguing that MIT economist Jonathan Gruber wasn’t intimately involved in writing Obamacare, but yet another video shows Obama admitting that he’s “stolen ideas” from Jon Gruber himself — “liberally.”
Obama spoke at the Brookings Institution in a video posted by the conservative group American Commitment on Monday. The president was touting his policy ideas, which stemmed from what he called some of the “brightest minds from academia and policy circles.”
Now that some of Gruber’s more outlandish statements about the health-care law have come to light, Obama has suddenly become less generous about Gruber’s role in authoring the law.
“The fact that some adviser who never worked on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is no reflection on the actual process that was run,” Obama said Monday in Australia.
But Gruber advised Obama’s first campaign in 2006 and went to the White House at least a dozen times while Obama’s been in office, in addition to receiving an almost $400,000 contract to advise on the health-care law.
His comments about a 2009 strategy meeting about Obamacare’s Cadillac tax on high-value health plans at the White House have sparked considerable outcry about the administration intentionally hiding some parts of the law from the public.
“He is like, ‘Look, I can’t just do this,'” Gruber said Obama explained at the 2009 round-table meeting. “‘It is just not going to happen politically. The bill will not pass. How do we manage to get there through phases and other things?'” And we talked about it. And he was just very interested in that topic.”
And in one of the most stark displays, a 2012 release from the Obama campaign itself said that Gruber himself “helped write Obamacare.”
In a press release after a debate with Gov. Mitt Romney, the Obama campaign depicted Gruber as a full-fledged architect of Obamacare in order to take a hit at Romney’s anti-Obamacare rhetoric, as Gruber worked for the Romney administration as well. The release cited a Bloomberg article which quoted Gruber, hailing him as “Jon Gruber Who Helped Write Obamacare And The Massachusetts Health Care Law.”
Gruber was also personally featured in a three-minute Obama campaign commercial which also sought to associate Romney’s health-care plan with Obama’s, as noted by Slate last week. In that 2012 commercial, Gruber’s lauded as a “health consultant to both Romney & Obama administrations.”