Carney: Jonathan Gruber "Speaks From The Ivory Tower With Remarkable Hubris"


TAPPER: Joining me now, CNN senior political commentator and former Obama White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Republican strategist, Ana Navarro. Jay, this is bad.

JAY CARNEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's not good, Jake. It's doesn't help when someone who help write not only Obamacare, the president's Affordable Care Act, but also the precursor to it, which was Governor Romney's health care reform initiative in Massachusetts.

You know, speaks from the Ivory Tower with remarkable hubris about the American voter and by extension the American Congress. The fact is that any health care reform that sought to control costs and expand insurance would involve winners and losers.

And that's always going to be the case. That's certainly the case, to speak that way, very harmful politically to the president.

TAPPER: And Obamacare obviously the law of the land although there are a lot of Republicans in Congress who want to overturn it or at least pick out it and there's a pending Supreme Court case. Do you think these remarks will have any impact on what is going on the status quo reality of the bill?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think it helps the bill whatsoever. I do think that it gives Republicans more to be suspicious about. What was that lack of transparency? Did they take advantage of the less than intelligent American people?

I mean, it is astounding to see somebody like Jonathan Gruber speak such an elitist and showing such disdain for the American people. I've never seen something like that. We're not just seeing it once.

He's now been caught on video saying this at least four times. So this wasn't a mistake. It was very purposeful.

TAPPER: Jay, I wonder, I know you're not in the White House anymore, so you're not talking about specifics, but theoretically, when something like this happens, how to game an out in the White House?

Do you dispute talking about should we respond to this, should we not respond to it? Does it have to rise to a certain level? Do we have to distance ourselves? How do you figure that out?

CARNEY: When something like this happens, you basically take a step back and see if it's going to have resonance and continue as a story in this case because there was more than video, more than one instance that confirmed that this was Gruber's view.

I think the White House or I would and it seems to have recognize that it had to respond and I think they are doing what they have to do which is, say, look, forget about what this player in the drawing of the bill has to say about it and his opinion about it.

Here are the facts. Yet it is reducing the rate of health care inflation. There's no question about it. It's at the lowest rate in half a decade.

TAPPER: The weakening economy is probably responsible for most of it.

CARNEY: Well, I understand that that is part of it.

TAPPER: Right.

CARNEY: But we are now five years plus since the recession ended. So I don't think any economic rational economic analysis could suggest that it's only because the recession has ended. That's part of it but there are other factors.

Also it has expanded health care insurance to millions of people. It could expand it more if other states would allow for the Medicaid expansion. So there are things --

NAVARRO: And this doesn't help that issue. There are states making that decision. CARNEY: No, but it still leaves those states to decide whether or not they are going to provide these benefits to their citizens of deprive them of health care insurance and that's a tough political --

NAVARRO: But it emphasizes the narrative, it emphasizes the belief that this was a huge piece of legislation written unilaterally behind closed doors that was ran through with just one party and --

CARNEY: I remember more than a year of debate about the legislation. Also, again, it didn't just appear out of magic. It was drafted originally in Massachusetts by Governor Romney and his team, including Jonathan Gruber.

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