Ex-Obama Aide Debunks the Media's 'Gruber Who?' Narrative

A former top aide to Barack Obama appeared on CNBC, Thursday, and demolished the narrative, promoted by the administration and some in the media, that Jonathan Gruber is minor figure. Ex-presidential adviser Steven Rattner previously exposed the ObamaCare architect, who lashed out at "stupid" Americans, as an "important" individual.

On Squawk Box, he expounded, "Jonathan Gruber was all over the health care situation as an adviser to the administration and as an expert and as the guy who designed the Massachusetts health plan." Co host Joe Kernen joked, "I guess you're not going to the White House Christmas party." [MP3 audio here.]

Kernen pointed to former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who claimed on Wednesday that she had never met Gruber. Rattner chided the administration: 

RATTNER: Look, what I would have said about that if I were in charge of, of communications is I would have said, "Yes. He was an adviser to us. He's a smart guy. What he said in those video clips that have now come out are stupid. He's the stupid one for having said that stuff and we, the White House disassociate ourselves from it." 

The networks have joined the "who's Gruber?" narrative by ignoring his comments. It wasn't until November 18th that ABC noticed him. NBC offered a story on November 17th. 

ABC, NBC and CBS have spent more time on the Facebook comments of an ex-staffer to an obscure Republican Congressman than they have on Gruber. 

A transcript of the December 4 Squawk Box segment is below: 

8:13

JOE KERNEN: I want to get so something that you said that made me feel proud. I guess you're not going to the White House Christmas party this year after saying that Gruber was the go-to guy. What prompted you to admit -- to say that? I mean, you knew that was not going to go over well. They just said they never heard of the guy, never seen him, and you said he was the go-to guy on Obamacare. And then – You're talking about attacks from the left. What about Schumer? Where did that come from, where it was written, and he's not even backing away from what he said, Steve. Those are the -- that's the party tumult I'd like to address. 

STEVE RATTNER: Which of those two questions do you want me to answer, Joe?  

KERNEN: Start with what the heck you were thinking when you admitted that.

RATTNER:  It wasn't a question of admitting it. What I said was that if you pick up any newspaper or go back and look at any video clips from your show or any other show from that point, from that period, Jonathan Gruber was all over the health care situation as an adviser to the administration and as an expert and as the guy who designed the Massachusetts health plan. 

KERNEN: Steve, I saw Sebelius again yesterday said, "Gruber, Gruber, he might have been some guy that, you know, heard something." I mean, really. They have – 

RATTNER: Look, what I would have said about that if I were in charge of, of communications is I would have said, "Yes. He was an adviser to us. He's a smart guy. What he said in those video clips that have now come out are stupid. He's the stupid one for having said that stuff and we, the White House disassociate ourselves from it." That's all you had to say. 

KERNEN: So the White House let some stupid guy design Obamacare. That doesn't give me a lot of confidence either. 

RATTNER: No. We can debate Obamacare, but I think it's actually working. 

KERNEN: How about Schumer? 

RATTNER: What Chuck said in that speech was something he said before. He said it as long ago as 2010. If you read the speech in its entirety, which I have, what he's really saying, and this gets back to your earlier questions about your Democratic Party, is that if we want to win, we Democrats want to win, we have to address the middle class, the people who are being left behind. 

Health Care CNBC Squawk Box Steven Rattner Jonathan Gruber
Scott Whitlock's picture


Sponsored Links