A former adviser to President Obama revealed today that MIT professor Jonathan Gruber was an "important figure" within the White House when the administration was working to pass ObamaCare. 

"I remember that when I was in the White House, he was certainly viewed as an important figure in helping to put ObamaCare together," said Steve Rattner on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Rattner, who served as an adviser to Obama on the auto industry bailouts in 2009, recalled that Gruber was "the man" when it came to health care economics.

Over the weekend, President Obama downplayed Gruber's role in the creation of the Affordable Care Act, calling him "some adviser who never worked on our staff."

It comes after a 2006 video surfaced in which President Obama said he had "stolen ideas" from Gruber.

Fox News contributor and National Review editor-at-large Jonah Goldberg responded this morning on "America's Newsroom," expressing amazement that Democrats and the Obama administration continue to downplay Gruber's role. 

"It is such a brazen, transparent and obvious lie," said Goldberg, joking that it'd be like James Madison denying his role in writing the Federalist Papers.

He said the administration is counting on the fact that the mainstream media will ignore the story and it will go away. Goldberg said Republicans need to call Gruber to hearings on Capitol Hill. 

Goldberg likened the many Gruber videos to a superhero villain, noting that he is on tape admitting that the administration lied and gamed the system to pass ObamaCare. 

"He's sort of like one of the super-villains in 'The Incredibles.' He constantly feels like the need to go monologuing. In the comic book jargon, it's where a villain feels the need to explain his entire plan, rather than just get on with it," he said. 

Watch the full report and analysis above. 

A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of "The Hill," pointed out that the president chose his words very carefully over the weekend when describing Gruber. She noted that Gruber wasn't technically a staff member, but made $400,000 a year in his advisory role.

She said on "Happening Now" that amount is more than congressional and White House staffers are paid.

"President Obama chose very precise words to make sure he wasn't lying. ... [Gruber] was more important than staff. He made $400,000. He was in presidential meetings and he was named in a presidential campaign two years ago as a means of defending ObamaCare against Republican attacks, saying it was the same as RomneyCare and he was brought in to replicate RomneyCare at the national level. That's an instrumental player. Everybody knows it," she said.

Meantime, the Wall Street Journal reports that Gruber has had more than a dozen appointments to visit the White House since Democrats began drafting the health law in 2009, according to visitor logs.