House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday tried to downplay comments by an architect of Obamacare, who was caught talking about the “stupidity of the American voter,” by saying she doesn’t even know who he is, even though her office has relied on his analysis before.
“I don’t know who he is,” she told reporters. “He didn’t help write our bill.”
“So, with all due respect to your question, you have a person who wasn’t writing our bill, commenting on what was going on when we were writing the bill, who has withdrawn some of the statements that he made,” she added. “So let’s put him aside.”
But shortly after she spoke, the Washington Post later reported that in 2009, Pelosi’s office noted Gruber’s analysis of what would happen under an earlier version of the Obamacare legislation. In December of that year, her office noted that Gruber’s analysis showed that the bill would lower health insurance premiums for millions of Americans.
A Pelosi spokesman later tried to clarify Pelosi’s remarks by saying she meant to say that she didn’t “know who he is,” and not that she has “never heard of him.”
Jonathan Gruber has been credited with writing parts of the Affordable Care Act before its passage in 2010. He’s since been caught in a video from 2013 saying the “stupidity of the American voter” helped pass the bill into law.
In a second video, Gruber said “American voters are too stupid” to understand the process of passing the legislation.
Pelosi also tried to downplay Gruber’s remarks by saying they are old, and that he has moved away from them.
“Mr. Gruber’s comments were a year old, and he has backtracked from most of them,” she said. “That’s really important.”
On Tuesday, Gruber appeared on MSNBC and said he regretted making these comments, but did not go as far as apologizing for them.
— This story was updated at 1:32 p.m.