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Pelosi on Gruber: 'I don't know who he is'

 

The ObamaCare consultant churning headlines this week for questioning voters' intelligence is a stranger to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader from California said Thursday.

“I don't know who he is,” Pelosi said of Jonathan Gruber. “He didn't help write our bill.”

Gruber, a health economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who advised the administration during the months-long ObamaCare debate, stirred a hornet's nest this week with comments he made last year suggesting only a “lack of transparency” and “the stupidity of the American voter” allowed the bill to pass.

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“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” he said at a University of Pennsylvania healthcare forum in October 2013. “And basically, call it the 'stupidity of the American voter' or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.”

Gruber has since apologized, telling MSNBC Tuesday that he was “speaking off the cuff.”

But that's done nothing to appease Republicans, who say the comments are just the latest evidence that the Democrats misled the public about what exactly their 2010 healthcare law would do. Some Republicans are eying hearings to examine the remarks.

Additional videos of Gruber making similar comments have only bolstered GOP arguments.

Pelosi was quick to downplay Gruber's role in the debate, arguing that the law, by providing health insurance for millions who would otherwise be without, was working as designed.

“You have a person who wasn't writing our bill commenting on what was going on when we were writing the bill who has withdrawn some of the statements he made. So let's put him aside,” she said. 

“With or without him, the Republicans will try to undermine the Affordable Care Act, and we recognize that,” she said. Democrats, she added, are “very, very proud of it.”

Still, if Pelosi is unfamiliar with Gruber now, that wasn't the case amid the fierce debate as ObamaCare was being crafted. 

As unearthed Thursday by The Washington Post, Pelosi's website contains entries from December 2009 featuring an extensive analysis of the law's impact on insurance premiums. The author? Jonathan Gruber.