December 3rd, 2009
04:23 PM ET
3 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. Sandy

    Good for you, Senator McCain! I have written them a couple of times and let them have it good! The arrogance of that organization - with their "Board" speaking for all AARP members. They are way off base and had no business doing that without taking a poll of the entire membership. The Board does not represent the entire membership. They are just that . . . the Board.

    December 3, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. gord ontario

    from what i understand there not cutting money from medicare only the money that gos to the insurance company,s profit, the money will go to hospitals and doctors where it should go, the people tthat care for people, not the people don,t actually care in more ways then one

    December 3, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. Right wingnuts are the darlings of dementia

    I did not know that people as old as McCain could do so much flip flopping.

    December 3, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. Chelsea

    Sometimes I forget that John was No. 894 out of 899 at the Naval Academy. We all hope for more (I voted for him) but the raw material just isn't there.

    A little bit of native intelligence is required so you can keep your positions consistent.

    December 3, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Sea.gem

    When the AARP changes their tune...remember it is a paid organization with constant internal turmoil and poorly run...they should be rebuked..although CNN is slanting this as hypocritical...the same logic could now be used on Obama and his policies on the Left...oh wait, the Left does eat its young...

    December 3, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. Ken H.

    i'm glad McCain is slamming the AARP on this. I know a lot of elderly have dropped their memberships and hopefully more will. Maybe this will give AARP a wake-up call and they will stop supporting this unconstitutionsl health-care bill Obama and the dems-on-crack congress are trying to push.

    December 3, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    More bafoonery from the lead bafoon himself. What a drama queen.....

    December 3, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    To think this man could very well have become our president...

    December 3, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. Mark

    You are !00% right. Mr. McCain do not have any principles at all, he is a flip flopper> Arizona wake up ,kick this Flip Flopper out in the next election. He is too old to understand the suffering of middleclass American, he is in the pocket of the Insurance co........

    December 3, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Right wingnuts are the darlings of dementia

    Sorry, but if AARP really was a health insurance company, the republicans would be kissing their butts.

    December 3, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. Mike Dallas

    "The John McCain of 2009 is singing a different tune than the John McCain of 2008".

    Perhaps this would help to explain why his fellow Viet Nam prisoners nicknamed him "songbird"? Maybe they were right about him all along.

    December 3, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Marilyn

    AARP endorses cuts to Medicare because it will help them sell more of their supplemental insurance! Duh!!!!

    December 3, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. gt

    the aarp is nothing but a large propaganda insurance sales group.... all they do is bombard you with insurance advertising,,, they would sell our children and grandchildern to the devil himself if they think they can make a buck......

    December 3, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  14. Republican no More

    AARP Supports it and AMA supports it. It's convinced me, who was originally skeptical. Sometimes you have to invest in YOUR own future, rather then the future of some country across the ocean. We need to repeal all of the incentives that Bush and administration made to ensure jobs were shipped over seas.

    McCain on the other hand has never impressed me. As a member of my own party, this old coot is nothing but a whiner, poser and good for nothing fake.

    December 3, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. moonbeam

    A bit of information for the ill-informed: AARP is NOT an insurance company. It is an organization which endorses (recommends) some insurance companies for various needs, such as New York Life for life insurance, United Health for Medicare supplement and The Hartford for auto and home insurance. The health care bill is so far from being passed and enacted, that anyone who forms a rigid opinion of what it will or won't do is premature and an alarmist.

    December 3, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. Marie MD

    mccain sweetheart I know you are old, but do you remember way back on November 2008? You and that other other troll lost the election. Your words, thoughts and wants are non issues.
    I wouldn't follow you out of a burning building much less cut up and return anything to anyone. Too bad you can't do the same to your ex vp candidate.

    December 3, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. LacrosseMom

    The Republicans were AGAINST the creation of...... Medicare! They claimed it was ......socialism!

    And now.... the hypocrites defend it????????

    December 3, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. mjm

    So McCain thanked AARP in the past. So What?

    That was before they sold out their members and supported this disaster of a health care bill.

    AARP is a BILLION dollar "non-profit" (wink wink) which sells everything from travel discounts to health insurance. They stand to make billions of this deal. They are the biggest special interest group around.

    When you libs scream about selling out to big insurance, you mean AARP, you just don't know it.

    December 3, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. ConsiderThis-FL

    John McCain needs to retire. Every time he speaks, dust comes bellowing out of his mouth with nothing substantive to say. He's the new robot-criticizer. McCain, Romney, Palin, Huck-a-buck and Bobby-Lindal; what a cast of characters. There should be a cartoon starring these bumbling idiots.

    December 3, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. Norma G

    AARP is one of the bigest Insurance companies going. They are also throwing the seniors to the wolves when they back the new insurance by the government. The government has never run a program yet without graft, not even for their own. Seniors are leaving AARP the membership because of this.

    December 3, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. Vigla

    McCain, no one CARES what you think anymore. You are no longer relevant to the political discussion.

    Fact is, the cuts proposed are the same wasteful spending cuts that you touted during your campaign. Hypocrite says WHAT?

    December 3, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. Chris - MN

    He's just trying to not get eliminated in the primaries. Suddenly the centrist is a radical.

    December 3, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  23. Republicans are hypocrites

    Amazing...Republicans supporting Medicare. Who'd a thunk it?

    December 3, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  24. Republicans are hypocrites

    John McCain is on his way to becoming a Socialist. Welcome comrade.

    December 3, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  25. rita

    If you agree with me, tear up your card and throw a big ole senior citizen hissy fit. Is he serious? I think he is. That is what was scary about McCain. He could reduce the most complex issue down to a five word sentence using the most twisted conservative logic to justify those five words.

    December 3, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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