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

McCain drills AARP for backing Medicare cuts

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. I support the President

    Thank you, majority of Americans who voted in the last election, for NOT making John McCain our POTUS!

    December 3, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. Luke

    Go away John McCain.

    December 3, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  3. Bob in Pa

    Way ahead of you John.

    December 3, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. cheryl

    AARP is not an insurance company

    December 3, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. Darth Vadik, CA

    This just goes to show that the McCain of yesteryear is gone, and you Republicans are left with this shell of a man he used to be, thank Bush for that too.

    December 3, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. welches, oregon

    They're all just a bunch of hypocrites – Dem and Repugs alike. This Afghanistan 'surge' was already planned long LONG before Obama ever took office. My husband works for a company that contracts with Freightliner – and they've been making massive military parts for trucks and tanks for the last two years – MASSIVE. So 'they' already had this planned. Just proves Obama is a figurehead and has no real power. Same ol Same ol – nothing different – no change – the American People are just pawns in whomever's game this is. It's fruitless to even try anymore – which is exactly what 'they' want. We work our tails off for 40 years and pay massive taxes – 'they' all get rich off our sweat. Seems like we're just all endentured servants.
    Obama o'shama – let's all just kill ourselves now

    December 3, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. Jerry D

    All I want for Xmas is a candidate to dethrone Maverick McCain!!!!

    December 3, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. USMC VET - Boston

    McCain the king of Hypocracy at the highest level of crazytown

    December 3, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  9. Zac, Atlanta

    Every few years, the Republicans come out with a plan to slash about 300 billion from Medicare (the last I found was in 2006, and it was on Gingrich's agenda in the Contract with America in the 90s).

    Too bad this isn't one of those years.

    December 3, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. Jim

    There never was a "Maverick" McCain. Just a guy with a slogan who stood by his Party's policies of exclusion and delusion. At one time, I thought McCain was a good man with a bad political affiliation. Now, I realize he's just a bitter man who hates everyone that isn't like him and uses his adopted child as a pawn.

    December 3, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  11. Mike K

    Senile old man, Thank God he is not president, our country would be in so much worse shape than it is.

    December 3, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  12. jane

    The Republicans (and McCain is no exception) seize every opportunity to promote scare tactics in their attemp to derail meaningful health care legislation. They are shameless in their loyalty to the industry profiteers. Sorry excuses for statesmen.

    December 3, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. PaulMoATX

    Dementia is kicking in.

    December 3, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. alpha_nu_916

    wow a politician changing his position.
    about as surprising as finding ice in the artic.

    December 3, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. RichP the Pocono's

    AMA supports it ? wow, whats that, a whole 20% of the doctors in the US last time I looked. Yea, 80% of the doctors in the US do NOT belong to the association.

    December 3, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  16. Randy, San Francisco

    GOP political hacks defending a social program they originally considered a slippery slope to socialism? Did hell freeze over? What happened to GOP conservative purity?

    December 3, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. Stacie

    Is this dude serious? It's on record that he voted to cut Medicare by BILLIONS in the 90's! Yeah, he's a big friend to seniors – not all seniors, just one...himself!

    December 3, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. Chanel

    McCain can never make up his mind. He needs to retire, or better yet, don't retire... go ahead and continue to embarrass the Republican party. I'm lovin' it!

    December 3, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. DJ

    Them fighting words McCain...the AARP better quit being so wishy-washy with their politics and state yes/no to support the public option now that the big$ lobbies are airing fear-mongering ads to target 14 Senators

    December 3, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  20. Eddie

    I for one opted out of AARP months ago as they supported Obamacare and had nothing to do with McCain.....however in defense of him; AARP was doing fine until the Obama WH & the Pelosi/Reid scamers paid them off!

    December 3, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. Dal CA

    McCain did you and your wife cutup your AARP membership cards. If no why don't you arrange a AARP card burning party around Xmas time.

    December 3, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. Felly

    McCain is over 70 years old and qualifies for Medicare and AARP membership. Maybe that is influencing his reasoning.

    December 3, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  23. Thomas

    Why would this old guy care , he's coverd !

    December 3, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. Frank, Las Vegas

    McSame is saying the GOP talking points. No one is cutting benefits, just the waist. I bet McSame never even read the bill. If he did he would know that, but then he would have to be against the GOP. America can be thankful and thank itself for showing this guy the door. Now if only he would close it behind him.

    December 3, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  25. ray munholland

    guess the fox in the henhouse has been exposed! all of a sudden john has seen the light! it is a good thing that namenda is still on the formulary for his insurance (and probably, under medicare, part d) so that he can get it prescribed. dementia shows no political favoritism. maybe he should go back to paraphrasing old lyrics: "bomb, bomb ...."

    ray munholland
    albuquerque, nm

    December 3, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
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