The Washington Post

Pelosi suggests Gibbs’s Obamacare comments are due to his business ties


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

Updated 12:10 p.m.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suggested Sunday that former top Obama aide Robert Gibbs's comment that the employer mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act won't survive might be related to Gibbs's business interests.

"I don't know who his clients are or what his perspective is," Pelosi told CNN's "State of the Union." "But we are celebrating the fact that we have over seven million who have signed up."

Gibbs made the comment last week while speaking at a benefits conference in Colorado. The employer mandate requires companies with at least 50 employees to offer their employees health insurance options, but it has already been delayed twice.

"I don’t think the employer mandate will go into effect," Gibbs said, according to BenefitsPro. "It’s a small part of the law. I think it will be one of the first things to go."

Asked again about Gibbs on Sunday, Pelosi expressed exasperation that his comments would be given such prominence. "I don't know why we're focusing on that," she told CNN. "One person says one thing. Seven million people signed up."

Aides to Pelosi didn't immediately respond Sunday to follow-up questions about her remarks.

Gibbs has earned the ire of Pelosi and congressional Democrats before. In 2010, he infuriated Pelosi and her top lieutenants for suggesting that Republicans might be on the verge of retaking control of the House. He later sought to clarify his comments. But more recently he suggested that the Senate is “definitely” in danger of flipping to Republican control.

“If we lose the Senate, turn out the lights. The party’s over,” he said last month on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Since departing the White House in 2011, Gibbs has taken a path familiar to other former White House officials who use their ties to a president to enrich themselves and establish a new career. Shortly after stepping down as White House press secretary, Gibbs sign a lucrative contributor contract with NBC News and MSNBC, hired the Harry Walker Agency to help him secure paid speaking appearances and co-founded The Incite Agency, a consulting and media relations firm that advises Fortune 500 companies, including health-care firms.

The speech Gibbs gave this past week in Colorado is consistent with how the Harry Walker Agency bills Gibbs as a potential paid speaker. On its Web site, pitches Gibbs by noting that he "played a major role in the daily White House policy debates over the shape of healthcare reform." It suggests that during such speeches, Gibbs "articulates the future for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."

The pitch concludes by stating that "The future of Obamacare -- and how it will affect your business -- is yet to be seen, and few are better prepared than Gibbs to guide you through that conversation."

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
New Hampshire has voted. The Democrats debate on Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Philip Rucker and Robert Costa say...
For Trump, the victory here was sweet vindication, showing that his atypical campaign could prevail largely on the power of celebrity and saturation media coverage. But there was also potential for concern in Tuesday's outcome. Trump faces doubts about his discipline as a candidate and whether he can build his support beyond the levels he has shown in the polls.
The Post's John Wagner and Anne Gearan say...
Hillary Clinton, who was declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses last week by the narrowest of margins, now finds herself struggling to right her once-formidable campaign against a self-described democratic socialist whom she has accused of selling pipe dreams to his supporters.
Quoted
People have every right to be angry. But they're also hungry for solutions.
Hillary Clinton, in her New Hampshire primary night speech
Quoted
I am going to be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.
Donald Trump, in his New Hampshire primary victory speech
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
See results from N.H.
Most Read

politics

post-politics

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.