Gruber apologizes to Congress for calling Americans stupid

Lawmakers grill Gruber over Obamacare comment... 01:47

WASHINGTON -- MIT professor Jonathan Gruber repeatedly told House lawmakers Tuesday he was sorry for what he called "thoughtless" and "insulting" comments -- including one last year when he said that Obamacare was written to hide taxes from voters who weren't smart enough to grasp the details.

Found footage fuels GOP’s fight against Oba... 02:22

"Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage," Gruber said during a 2013 speech at the University of Pennsylvania. "Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass."

Gruber told house members that in several speeches he pretended to be more of a political insider than he was at the time.

"It is never appropriate to make oneself seem more important or smarter by demeaning others," he told lawmakers.

But Republicans weren't buying that Gruber was out of the loop. They noted he made 21 trips to the White House and earned almost $400,000 as an administration consultant. Congressman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., cited several different Gruber comments on the ways voters have been misled.

"All of these quotes I read you, you didn't mean a single one of them? Not a one?" Gowdy asked Gruber during the hearing."

"What I said congressman is that I was using glib thoughtless and really inexcusable language," answered Gruber.

"Well you used them a lot."

Democrats and Gruber deny that they ever hid the details about Obamacare. Democrats say whatever Gruber claimed in those speeches, Obamacare was widely debated and Republicans knew exactly how it was financed.

  • Wyatt Andrews
    Wyatt Andrews

    Wyatt Andrews is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Washington D.C. He is responsible for tracking trends in politics, health care, energy, the environment and foreign affairs.