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. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    John McCain needs to support the Veterans but no he spends time arguing with a sign post. Nobody cares because he's always wrong.

    December 3, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  2. AmericanFlag


    December 3, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  3. welches, oregon

    Bailout money for jobs – are you kidding me? Which CEO will reap those tax $$?

    Don't you get it yet people – this is just part of a larger plan :

    1-make sure there are no jobs
    2-make war
    3-unemployed people will join the military 'cos there aren't any jobs
    4-and there you have your 'all volunteer' army
    5-make more war

    December 3, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  4. Adalbert

    It is time for Senator McCain to retire.

    December 3, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    What a grumpy old man McCain is!

    The AARP, which I GUARANTEE cares more about the welfare of seniors than I-sold-my-soul-to-the-highest-bidder-McCain, is right in this matter.

    December 3, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  6. Jane

    Everyone thinks the AARP is out to help them. They're just another insurance company looking for money. Don't think they are your best buddy they have their best interests at heart–otherwise they would not favor Obamacaid. Just like the AMA–only 20-24% of doctor's belong to it their main focus is lobby.

    December 3, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  7. Florida Resident

    McCain is a liar. Seniors are not getting Medicare cuts – the Health Insurance Companies who are getting Medicare $ for the Advantage health insurance to replace Medicare Part B are getting cuts and they are screaming like stuck pigs and paying off McCain and his political cronies. McCain is just trying to make political hay out of this to get Obama out of office – the goal of the GOP!

    December 3, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  8. Linda

    Johnnie you just don't get it.

    December 3, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  9. GI Joe



    He needs to go, Arizona. Vote him out before he slobbers all over himself in public.

    December 3, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  10. T'SAH from Virginia

    McCain is a SENIOR now – well, he's been a SENIOR for about 15 years -AND, now he cares about the SENIORS. He never did in the past and it's pathetic he is QUESTIONING AARP when AARP is all about SENIORS!! Therefore, they must see a silver lining somewhere that will benefit SENIORS!!

    John McCain is all over the place – HEAD STRONG and DEAD WRONG and having another SENIOR moment!!!

    December 3, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  11. Mike

    McCain still thinks the economy is still strong. Now AARP is not good.
    Two wrongs don't make it right.

    December 3, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  12. Jim

    I just love how a guy who proposed much bigger cuts to Medicare a year ago, and a party that never wanted Medicare and has always wanted to get rid of are suddenly trying to stop cuts to Medicare. Do you think their lack of consistency means that all they ever really wanted was power?

    December 3, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. t.Tulsa

    Thank God, that this man and his sleazy running mate did not assume command of this country.

    December 3, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  14. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    At this point it shouldn't surprise anyone that AARP is actually a democrat-supporting organization and not the advocates for seniors they pretend to be. If they were, they'd be AGAINST this ill-conceived health care reform Pelosi & Reid are trying to rush through Congress before they lose their majorities come 2010.

    December 3, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  15. Shawn-Ga

    His position changed because theirs did... why do people try to make things look so dirty. (Both sides i am talking about)

    December 3, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  16. StevieB

    Every time he opens his mouth we realize that the caliber of bullet we dodged in not electing him is just a little bit bigger than we thought the last time he opened his mouth and showed off his ignorance.

    December 3, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  17. Preston

    Crazy old man. Captain Queeg, anyone?

    December 3, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  18. harold

    What is McCains gripe?.. He is against.. surely... it is socialist and government run health care it not?. He should be defeated this 2010 election in Arizona as he does not care for anyone having health care . but himself since he has a gold plated health care plan.. Plus the Socialist Veterans health Insurance program.. Smooth sailing for old Mac on his health care.. rough seas for the un-insured in the USA which Republicans disdain those un-insured people... for some reason..?

    December 3, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  19. Stu- SW Florida

    It seems as though AARP is seeing a lot more through the Republican smoke than McCain. Think about it McCain, the one that brought us Palin. Just why would AARP, the organization FOR seniors, endorse a plan that takes away from them (seniors)? You must have learned how to read from the same schools Palin did.
    You truly are a wiper of other peoples butts...

    December 3, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  20. m smith

    well the man is a genius he can talk out of both sides of his mouth at once. . He has no health care worries. he has VA a government run health care. And besides he can always sell one of his houses or cars if he needs money. If he can remember how many he has. Nope as usual it is the little guy that gets screwed. Not the big money guys

    December 3, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. EZ

    Wow..... McCain is the BIGGEST HYPOCRITE of them all. This old fart can't seem to stick to one solid message. He's the TRUE crooked talking express. John McCain needs to be voted out of office. Folks in Arizona need to get rid of guys stuck in deep quicksand like McCain.

    It's time for some new blood in Arizona.

    December 3, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  22. Rose

    AARP used to be a good thing for Seniors but I for one have just cut up my card and plan to return it asap. For those who don't belong to AARP you should read their news letters, they are packed with lies lately about this Obama care. Acorn must have contacted AARP.

    December 3, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  23. rich

    Yeah I'm sure John McCain is tweeting. Guy can't even use email, let alone a relatively new, complicated communication medium like twitter lol

    December 3, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  24. ib

    AARP hass turned into a bad joke. We cancelled our membership a couple of years ago when they started backing far left policies. they could care less about senior citizens just their own pocket books.

    December 3, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    And to quote New Gingrich (to the rabid applause of his GOP colleagues) in 1994 when they took back Congress: "We will now let Medicare and Social Security WITHER ON THE VINE."

    December 3, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
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