On MSNBC, Gruber Frets GOPers 'Explicitly Lying,' Not Just 'Bending Truth'

Appearing as a guest on Tuesday's MSNBC Live, ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber -- infamous for advising President Barack Obama to deceive the public to get ObamaCare passed -- claimed that now, unlike in the past when politicians were just "bending the truth," now they are "explicitly lying" as Republicans prepare to move ahead on repealing ObamaCare.

As host Chris Jansing spoke with two liberal guests and one squishy moderate Republican about the upcoming vote, she sympathetically asked Gruber "how nervous" he was about what was about to happen. Referring to Obama administration members, she posed: "They truly believed that so many Americans had benefited from [Obamacare] and it was becoming so entrenched in the way that these kinds of programs do that they felt that America wouldn't let this happen. And I wonder, as you're watching this vote and assuming again that this motion to proceed goes through, how nervous are you right now?"

Earlier in segment, as the group discussed Senator John McCain returning to Washington to vote on the Senate floor in spite of being diagnosed with brain cancer, Gruber suggested that the Arizona Senator and former POW wasn't really so "heroic" unless he decides to vote in favor of ObamaCare:

I think it is ironic that John McCain is returning from a surgery that virtually no American could afford without health insurance to vote to deny 15 million Americans health insurance at least. So, you know, we have to step back and ask: What is heroic here? I mean, it's heroic he's making the trip -- he has a heroic history -- but the heroic thing to do would be to stand up and say, "Look, I just realized that I was the beneficiary of insurance and that Americans cannot afford this without insurance," and, "Why should we support a bill that's going to take insurance away from millions of Americans?"

A bit later, Jansing recalled that Obama administration members whom she had spoken with had felt confident that ObamaCare could not be dismantled by Republicans, and then posed:

They truly believed that so many Americans had benefited from it and it was becoming so entrenched in the way that these kinds of programs do that they felt that America wouldn't let this happen. And I wonder, as you're watching this vote and assuming again that this motion to proceed goes through, how nervous are you right now?

Gruber -- known for his contribution to President Obama uttering the "lie of the year" -- began by complaining about dishonesty by politicians:

Well, I'm nervous. I mean, look, you know, I was one of those people, you know, before November 8, I said, "Look, the 2012 election was the last one that mattered for health care, and health care was safe." But American politics broke on November 8, and we are used to a history of politicians bending the truth, but now we get politicians breaking the truth. That's a new thing. We hadn't had politicians explicitly lying in the way they do now. That's really new. 

After arguing that ObamaCare will still be difficult to repeal, he added:

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You've got to deal with the bill that the Senate parliamentarian has said can't pass with 50 votes, and you've got to deal with the fact that the subsequent vote is not just a theoretical vote, but actually a vote that's going to cost millions of Americans their insurance.

So I think we're still better than even odds the Affordable Care Act survives, but it's just sort of sad that we're in a world where politicians can't even answer the question: Why are you voting for this bill? They literally can't answer the question: What good does this do other than, "Gee, we have to give up Obamacare." That's just a very disappointing world to be in.

Host Jansing made no mention of the irony that Gruber was complaining about someone else being dishonest as she moved on.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Tuesday, July 25, MSNBC Live:

2:46 p.m. ET

JONATHAN GRUBER: All the different proposals have one thing in common -- they're all bad. They all create a huge number of new uninsured individuals -- they all raise premium costs -- they all deny coverage to the sickest Americans. So wherever we end up, whatever they're voting on, they know it's something that's going to cost Americans insurance coverage.

The other thing is, look, I have much respect for John McCain as the next person. I actually worked with John McCain when I was in the Clinton administration-- but I think it is ironic that John McCain is returning from a surgery that virtually no American could afford without health insurance to vote to deny 15 million Americans health insurance at least. So, you know, we have to step back and ask: What is heroic here? I mean, it's heroic he's making the trip -- he has a heroic history -- but the heroic thing to do would be to stand up and say, "Look, I just realized that I was the beneficiary of insurance and that Americans cannot afford this without insurance," and, "Why should we support a bill that's going to take insurance away from millions of Americans?"

(...)

CHRIS JANSING: Jonathan, let me tell you a story -- and I've said this on the air before, but, at the end of the Obama administration, I did exit interviews with a number of senior staff -- quite a few actually. And what surprised me maybe more than anything was the fact that they seem least concerned about -- and this was after Donald Trump had been elected -- they seemed least concerned about health care and the repeal of ObamaCare. They truly believed that so many Americans had benefited from it and it was becoming so entrenched in the way that these kinds of programs do that they felt that America wouldn't let this happen. And I wonder, as you're watching this vote and assuming again that this motion to proceed goes through, how nervous are you right now?

GRUBER: Well, I'm nervous. I mean, look, you know, I was one of those people, you know, before November 8, I said, "Look, the 2012 election was the last one that mattered for health care, and health care was safe." But American politics broke on November 8, and we are used to a history of politicians bending the truth, but now we get politicians breaking the truth. That's a new thing. We hadn't had politicians explicitly lying in the way they do now. That's really new. And I think, in that world, we don't really know what can happen. So I still am hopeful the Affordable Care Act will survive -- I think this vote is far from a death knell because, as Ron Klain was saying, you've already lost two Republican Senators in principle.

 Now, you've got to actually deal with the messy details. You've got to deal with the bill that the Senate parliamentarian has said can't pass with 50 votes, and you've got to deal with the fact that the subsequent vote is not just a theoretical vote, but actually a vote that's going to cost millions of Americans their insurance. So I think we're still better than even odds the Affordable Care Act survives, but it's just sort of sad that we're in a world where politicians can't even answer the question: Why are you voting for this bill? They literally can't answer the question: What good does this do other than, "Gee, we have to give up ObamaCare." That's just a very disappointing world to be in.

NB Daily Congress Health Care Medical Insurance MSNBC MSNBC Live ObamaCare Video Chris Jansing Donald Trump Barack Obama John McCain Jonathan Gruber


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