Obama in 2006: I've 'liberally' stolen ideas from Gruber

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President Obama said in 2006 that he had stolen ideas "liberally" from the professor under fire for saying voter “stupidity” aided ObamaCare’s passage.

Video unearthed by the conservative Washington Free Beacon Monday showed Obama praising Jonathan Gruber and other liberal policy experts as some of the "brightest minds" in academia. 


"Many of them I have stolen ideas from liberally, people ranging from [economist] Robert Gordon to [economist] Austan Goolsbee [to] Jon Gruber," Obama said in the clip

Gruber is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose past criticism of voters has gone viral in the last week. He served as a consultant during the passage of the healthcare law and its counterpart in the Bay State under former Gov. Mitt Romney (R). 

The Obama administration and congressional Democrats are trying to distance themselves from Gruber as more videos emerge. 

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said Monday that she was "extremely offended" by his comments, and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last week she doesn't know "who he is." 

The latest video was filmed at an event held by the Brookings Institution in 2006 to mark the launch of a policy initiative known as the Hamilton Project. 

"I know that there are going to be wonderful ideas that are generated as a consequence of this project," Obama said. 

The president pushed back hard on Gruber's comments over the weekend, arguing that each provision of ObamaCare was debated openly. 

"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 at a news conference following the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.

"We had a year-long debate,” Obama said. “Go look back at your stories. The one thing we can’t say is that we did not have a lengthy debate about healthcare in the United States of America, or that it was not adequately covered. Every press outlet here, go back and pull up every clip, every story. And I think it’s fair to say there was not a provision in the healthcare law that was not extensively debated and was fully transparent.”