In case anyone wasn’t sure about the White House denials regarding its ties to Jonathan Gruber, here we have video of Obama heaping praise upon him:
“You have already drawn some of the brightest minds from academia and policy circles, many of them I have stolen ideas from liberally, people ranging from Robert Gordon to Austan Goolsbee; Jon Gruber; my dear friend, Jim Wallis here, who can inform what are sometimes dry policy debates with a prophetic voice.”
This seems to directly contrast Obama’s statement to Ed Henry yesterday, where he “just learned” about Jonathan Gruber (probably from the TV), like every other major story. President Obama said, “I just heard about this. I get well briefed before I come out here. The fact that some adviser who never worked on our staff expressed an opinion that I’ve completely disagreed with in terms of the voters, is no reflection on the actual process that was run. We had a year-long debate, Ed, I mean, go back and look at your stories. The one thing we can’t say is that we did not have a lengthy debate about health care in the United States of America. or that it was not adequately covered. I think it is fair to say that there was not a provision in the health care laws that was not extensively debated and was fully transparent.”
Gruber was also not merely “some advisor who never worked on our staff”. We know now there was a cozy relationship with Gruber. Gruber “visited the White House more than a dozen times, according to official visitor logs. One of those meetings took place in the Oval Office with Obama. Additionally, according to contracts issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, Gruber was paid $400,000 for his work on the president’s signature health care law.”
Additionally, Gruber was paid large sums of taxpayer money, totaling nearly $4 million of the last several years — half of it directly related to Obamacare work. Though he wasn’t directly paid by the White House (probably how Obama technically justified the “staff” comment to himself), he was paid by Health and Human Services as well as 8 states so far to work on Obamacare and, prior to, by HHS for other consulting work
Though Obama continues to try to distance himself from Gruber and his remarks, the ties just keep surfacing.