December 3rd, 2009
04:23 PM ET
11 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. Harold

    Somebody tell me WHY the Federal Reserve....a bunch of rich, greedy foreign Bankers are given legal authority to be in control of all of American banks (legally) and to force the American Banks to open up their Books to these Foreigners...and yet, people act surprised when all these American banks start failing left and right. Why should it come as a surprise to you when you have Foreigners in charge of American Banks against their will? You will surely see much more Banks fail, and you will continue to act surprised. After all, the Federal Reserve was established to avoid recessions yet we have had constant Recessions ever since the Federal Reserve was created! You act surprised.....

    December 3, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. Chicago Mob

    Reading the blogs here it is so typical of the libs to attack McCain and conviently draw attention away from the issue being commented on. AARP does not now and has not for a long time truely represented the interests of seniors. Look at the facts, they stand to make many more millions from commissions on supplemental insurance sold in their name, then they could ever take in from the dues of their members. Any seniors that believe otherwise deserve the screwing they will get from AARP.

    December 3, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  3. Kate in SW Fla

    The cuts are not to Medicare services, only to fraud, abuse and Medicare Advantage, a private insurance policy paid for by Medicare at a rate that is 15% higher than regular Medicare recipient costs. If seniors want that plan, they should pay for the 15% extra it costs. I do not know why seniors seem to think that they are "entitled" to cadillac, gold-plated health care.

    December 3, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  4. Independent Thinker

    When will all the "commenters" quit doing personal attacks and maybe give a little thought to the issues?

    Yes, I'm over 65 and the AARP doesn't represent me; they have lost their integrity just like other organizations...

    December 3, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  5. sara

    He and wife Cindy doesn't have to cutup their AARP card . He doesn't have one, he recieves the BEST of Healthcare on my Dime. Socialist Healthcare must be good, right John? "yeap, if it's only for me" you jerk...go away, way away.

    December 3, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. victim of the false prophet OBAMA

    i cut mine up 6 months ago...about time you showed some backbone McCain.

    December 3, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  7. sara

    FlipFlop, FlipFlop

    December 3, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  8. Harriett in Chapel Hill

    McCain is in the unfortunate position of suffering from Alzheimer's. His behavior and mental abilities are becoming increasingly irrational. A specialist needs to check him out, seriously.

    December 3, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  9. Ron from Florida

    This guy doesn't know if he is afoot or horseback on a good day. We need not only Term Limits in Government but there should be a mental capacity test as well.

    I still think this old fart picked Sarah dear because he thought he would get a little of the wink-wink,

    These washed up old farts like McCrazy, Knewt, Huckelberry, etc, all are insignificant and the world would be better off if they just had their diapers changed and they could go back and take a nap.

    December 3, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. do what is right

    I am a conserative and I believe that AARP is ruled by some CEO's that do not represent the seniors at all...I have cut up my card. I have also canceled all my insurance policies that I had with AARP and asked them not to send any of their liberal newsletters and advertisements. They haven't stopped that yet, but I just throw them in the garbage. I believe the reason more seniors have not quit AARP is because of the supplementary health care. There are other places to get health care, car and house insurance, just as reasonable....No excuse....Tear up those cards and call and tell them why....

    December 3, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  11. mjm

    "AARP Supports it and AMA supports it"

    AARP stands to make billions selling insurance to the very same people who are having their benefits cut. They compete with Medicare Advantage directly.

    The AMA only supported the Pelosi bill AS LONG AS Medicare reimbursements were not cut. They were....now the AMA no longer supports the bill.

    These are two special interest groups looking to make millions of this deal....I didn't think you wanted their support in the first place.

    December 3, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. I am the not-so-great and powerless wizard of Rush

    AARP: "We call on all Arizonans to put this tired hypocrite out to pasture in 2010."

    December 3, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  13. Ancient Texan

    I quit this far left wing organization years ago. HillaryCare was one their projects too.. Taking Harry Reids side on Social Security Reform and Now selling out Senior Citizens and Medicare in exchange for the chance to write millions of dollars in Government run insurance policies. No More!

    December 3, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. eric

    now Johny boy....will you eve realize you lost? the election is over and yes...you lost...to a black man nonetheless...I realize your fragile ego finds this unbearable...but stop the hypocrisy or maybe think about retiring...

    December 3, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  15. Unemployed In Iowa because of Obama

    I canceled my membership because AARP backs Obama Care and the CUTS to Medicare. Just what we need, obama to put in health care rationing to seniors and then eventually with the Dems and Obama in charge we will see the 666 being put on our foreheads.

    December 3, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  16. Bill Sampson

    McCain is no maverick. He is a politician trying to save his job next year. Hypocrisy reigns supreme with all Republicans these days, including the former "maverick". Retire, John. Please.

    December 3, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  17. OpticalPig

    Amazing. I find it pretty amazing that CNN can remember what John McCain said during his campaign about AARP but has somehow lost all the data on what Obama said about closing GITMO, ending the war, cutting taxes, and NOT creating a socialized healthcare program but instead "fighting to bring down the cost of healthcare and health insurance so that the average American can afford it". Hmmm?!? Where is all that info??

    December 3, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  18. lila

    If someone is 95 with terminal cancer and wants a $100,000 pace maker.. even thought they have been given less than a year to live... Medicare has to give it to them. What is wrong with the conservatives? There has to be a rational balance found somewhere in the mix. The conservatives seem to have forgotten the whole purpose of their party.

    December 3, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  19. joe not the plumber

    are people that read this stuff actually as intellectually challenged as their comments make them appear? so incredibly sad that people are so completely misinformed about the simplest things. the scary part is that most of these people are licensed to drive automobiles and registered to vote. get yourselves some education people. rise above your parochial and self-centered fears.

    December 3, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  20. Black Viper

    And this Old confused man wanted to be president with a Village chassing moose man as VP. Thank God Most americans did not make the mistake of puting this fools in the white house.

    December 3, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  21. A. Smith, Oregon

    Great, AARP should target that old dried up prune, Senator John McCain and vote him out of Office.

    When it comes to Senator John McCain, vote NO!

    December 3, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  22. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    I've been paying into Medicare for years as long as I've worked and the irony of it is by the time I reach the age to use it, just like Social Security it will probably be gone. If the AARP backs this movement and it can help pay for better healthcare for us all, even the ones who are protesting against it at the moment, then sorry Sen McCain your whine falls on death ears here. By the way what kind of healthcare do YOU have sir?

    December 3, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  23. Gerry NH

    The problem with the AARP is that they make these stupid decision without asking the members. I don't need anything from them.

    December 3, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  24. bob j

    the republicans put him in as nominee as a throw away ,,he wasnt suspose to win, and if somehow did would have been a joke .at the bildeburger meeting in Va during the summer before the election they decreed obama as to be the president ,we (the patriotic people)had moles in the meeting who reported on this .
    the thing that i watched for was to see him in ads for something like viagra ,,like Bob Dole. who was also a throwaway canidate..the only thing with mc cain it may have been an ad for "attends" (senior diapers) or something similar.

    December 3, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  25. Seawife

    Mr. McCain, you should be ashamed of yourself telling AARP members to cut up their cards. Shame on you.

    We know exactly what you are doing. For once in a long time you are "working" and it's all because you are running for re-election next year in the great state of Arizona.

    Be afraid that your poll numbers are down.

    I can't believe a word you say anymore.

    December 3, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
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