December 3rd, 2009
04:23 PM ET
9 months ago

McCain drills AARP for backing Medicare cuts

McCain had some harsh words for the AARP.
McCain had some harsh words for the AARP.

Washington (CNN) – The John McCain of 2009 is singing a different tune than the John McCain of 2008.

On Thursday, the Arizona senator hammered the AARP on the Senate floor and on his Twitter account for supporting a proposal by Senate Democrats to cut millions from Medicare to help pay for health care legislation.

"I call on seniors to cut up their AARP cards and send them back to them!" McCain tweeted Thursday afternoon.

Endorsing Democrats in the health care fight seems to have changed McCain's thinking on the AARP, the nation's most influential senior lobby. During his 2008 presidential bid, the Republican nominee praised the group's leadership in some key policy battles.

"I say God bless AARP for everything they are doing, not only for the present generations of Americans, but for future generations," McCain told an AARP audience in September of last year. "That's your duty, that's your strength, and that's why I love to see you at every town hall meeting. And that's why I always try to let you talk."

McCain thanked the group for working with him on what he called "the big fights," citing tobacco legislation and campaign finance reform. "This organization has been an incredibly valuable contributor to the important discourses I just mentioned, and it's been there for decades, for decades," he said at the time.

Brooke Buchanan, a spokeswoman for McCain, said his objection to AARP is based on what the group is doing now, not what they did in the past.

UPDATE: John Ashbrook, a spokesman for the Senate Republican Communications Center, points out that the AARP changed course from some of their past positions on Medicare cuts.

During the Clinton administration's push to reform health care, for example, the AARP expressed concerns about cutting Medicare as a way to pay for legislation.

'If we're talking about Medicare cuts alone as a way of financing health reform, we would fight that with all our strength - we've gone as far as we can go down that road," John Rother, the AARP director of federal legislation and policy, told the Los Angeles Times in 1993.


Filed under: Health care • John McCain
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Wow...Now that is hypocritical!!!

    Hooray for policitians reversing their positions for political gain! :)

    December 3, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. RichP the Pocono's

    Of course they are backing cuts, they are an insurance company, they can sell even more insurance with those cuts. I hate to break anyones bubble that thinks AARP is some altruistic organization, they are not, they are a COMPANY out to make a PROFIT.

    December 3, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Right wingnuts are the darlings of dementia

    I sleep better at night knowing he is not the president. He is clueless, and every day he confirms it. What a maroon.

    I call on seniors to stop sending money to this crap oriented republican party.

    December 3, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. NC

    Poor Senator McCain, he is starting to forget what he supports and what he does not. I have no plans to cut up my AARP card. I am not rich like John McCain and enjoy the discounts I get by being a member. If he wants to save the government money why doesn't he give back some of the government funds he receives. As we say in the south Bless His Heart.

    December 3, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. CNN afraid of a liberal post

    WHY don't you tell what the health care bill is cutting from MEDICARE....It is cutting some of the ADVANTAGE PLANS. Which are what is draining Medicare. Advantage was the bush's administration idea to help private insurance companies get their foot in the door with Medicare.

    Most places won't accept Advantage Plans...why, just like regular insurance they charge the clinics and hospitals double what is regularly charged to Medicare...AND THEY ARE SLOW OR NO PAY. This is what bush wanted to do with regular Medicare but thank goodness the democrats and some republicans that went along with them wouldn't let him. THAT'S WHY MCCAIN IS ANGRY, IT IS TAKING MEDICARE MONEY AWAY FROM THE HEALTH INSURANCE BUSINESS...

    December 3, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. Nevada dude

    This is not a surprise, with the ideological purge occurring in the GOP, McCain has to tow the line. there will be no more Mavericks or Rogues, nor much of anything else but stodgy, unimaginative, backwards thinking fundamentalists

    December 3, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. Crazy Cat Lady

    Ah, yes, John McCain, man of mavericky principles. Which principles? Depends which way the political winds are blowing.

    December 3, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. Steven Harrison

    McCain proposed an amendment Monday to strip the health care bill of its Medicare cuts. Does this mean that the Medicare budget won't be reduced as much as originally intended or does it mean that Medicare funding provisions included in the bill were removed?

    Two different approached, the latter doesn't contradict when McCain's campaign called for reductions in Medicare funding to pay for his health care plan during the presidential race.

    December 3, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. Naldo

    McCain yelled at a bird for flying too low. The bird perched on a cactus and McCain yelled at it for sitting to high. The bird pooped and McCain yelled at it for polluting. The bird swooped down and ate a spider, and McCain yelled at it for devouring resources.

    McCain screamed "Get off my lawn!" at the bird.
    The bird replied, "You're standing in the middle of the desert. Get off MY lawn!"

    When will McCain get off the US Citizen's lawn?

    December 3, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. Palin around with MCCant

    got any more planes to crash?

    December 3, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. HBO

    Is he still talking?

    December 3, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Joshua College Station Texas

    'It should have been me who is President!' snivel snivel. 'My opinion matters!" (even if it changes all the time)

    December 3, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. Jim

    Sen. McCain is just another prostitician saying one thing to get elected and another after he is in office.

    December 3, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. geecee

    This McCain can turn on a dime, huh? What a hypocrite. I have never seen a loser in a Presidential campaign, despite the fact that he is still a U.S. Senator (not for long – Arizona, remember his vote on Sotomayor, please) keep his mouth working constantly slamming the President who won the election! McCain, he beat you by 10,000,000 votes. Get over it!

    December 3, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. Mike in jax

    Just a flip flopper. .

    December 3, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. nathan smith ga

    john mccan't is irrelavent. americans need healthcare just pass the bill already.

    December 3, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. Danny

    So John if a group disagrees with you on an issue you start attacking them? Your shortsightedness on this issue will cost you much support when you next come up for reelection. Senator McCain needs to remember that there are 2 sides to every debate and he is not necessarily right all the time.

    December 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Chipster

    McCain and others are attempting to mislead and scare seniors with claims of Medicare cuts. Yes, there will be cuts in the cost of Medicare because this Administration and Democratic leadership will lift the ban on negotiating better prices! How could anyone with even the smallest conscience defend banning govt agencies from negotiating the best prices for our seniors! But the Bush Administration and Republican leadership did exactly that! And now they want to claims cuts are to benefits. Well, the AARP dispels that myth!

    December 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    Well thank you Peter Hamby and CNN! Congratulations on doing a great job on this ticker item and trust me, I do not give out praise frequently.

    You actually did your homework on this report! Instead of just stating "McCain lashes out at AARP" for high drama and just giving the 2009 version you showed his "flip flop" from 2008. If there was more reporting like this, the citizens could see the hypocrisy exposed when used by either political party.

    This is the type of in depth reporting I had come to expect from the old CNN and if you keep this up. I may have to stop calling you "Fox Lite" and start calling you CNN again.

    December 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. NotFooledTX

    What the hell does McCain know about AARP and the benefits they provide – he's been on the governments teat his whole life.

    Once again, Wrong Way McCain comes through. Too bad he sacrificed all his credibility on selecting ms palin last fall – otherwise, his opinion might actually mean something.

    December 3, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. Winifred

    I'm so glad to see his current view. There is no way I will continue to support the AARP. They DO NOT have the best interest of Senior Citizens at heart. I have already discontinued my membership and hope many others will do the same. They also don't pay claims as well as other insurers do which is another reason not to do business with them. I have realized for some time now that they do NOT do what is best for Seniors, but what will put more money in THEIR pockets.

    December 3, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. John1313

    McCain is worthless. AARP wants to cut the waste in Medicare and use it to help others. Republicans always say cut the waste, but I guess not when it's going to their rich friends in the Insurance Industry. Is there any Repulblican not on their payroll?

    December 3, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. once upon a horse

    Go John GO! We all need to learn that medicare is really SOCIOLIZED medicine and we don't want anything close to sociolism in our country. Oh Wait......you SUPPORT Medicare and I bet you get it too! Never Mind.

    December 3, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. Duck Fallas

    John McCain supports socialized, government controlled health care. Good for him!

    December 3, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Florida Joe

    McCain is a joke.......he proposed cutting Medicare by Millions when he was running for President...............

    December 3, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6