Pelosi in 2009: Go Read Jonathan Gruber. Pelosi in 2014: I Don’t Know Any Jonathan Gruber.
It’s only fitting that one of Washington’s most notorious liars would lie about knowing its liar du jour.
At a press conference this afternoon, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was quizzed about Dr. Jonathan Gruber, the Obamacare architect who boasted repeatedly of using “tortured language” to sneak the legislation past America’s “stupid” voters. The former Speaker knows a thing or two about the law’s lack of transparency, having famously uttered the phrase, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it,” but according to her, she doesn’t know Gruber:
“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…
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“You have a person who wasn’t writing our bill commenting on what was going on when we were writing the bill who has withdrawn some of the statements he made.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.”
Pelosi makes the mistake of forgetting that we “stupid American voters” have a little thing called “Google” at our disposal. Not only did she know who Gruber was in 2009, she cited one of his analyses on her website and mentioned him by name at a press conference:
Pelosi’s staffers are now claiming she misspoke, and meant to say that she was aware of his research but didn’t know him personally. Nice try, but still not likely. Pelosi minimizes Gruber’s role in Obamacare’s creation, but, according to Michael Cannon, the MIT wonk was a key figure:
Gruber’s stature and role in writing the PPACA are critical here. One of the nation’s top health economists, he helped craft and implement a nearly identical law in Massachusetts. He was a paid adviser to the Obama administration in 2009 and 2010. The New York Times reports, “the White House lent him to Capitol Hill to help Congressional staff members draft the specifics of the legislation.”
Gruber was so heavily involved in writing the PPACA that when he boasts, “I know more about this law than any other economist” — and that he even wrote part of the bill himself — everyone believes him.
Given that level of input, and the fact that Pelosi was undoubtedly aware of his work, it’s hard to believe that Gruber and the then-Speaker never crossed paths during the 2009-2010 push for health care reform.
I’m tempted to blame it on her age but, c’mon, that would just be sexist.