Vice President Joe Biden claimed the support of AARP during the debate last night, despite the organization criticizing President Obama for doing so last week. Unlike Obama, though, Biden got away with it.
“It hasn’t changed since last week,” spokeswoman Tiffany Lundquist told The Washington Examiner when asked about AARP’s stance on Biden’s claim that “AARP endorsed what we did” to Medicare in Obamacare.
Lundquist also emailed AARP senior vice president John Hishta’s statement on the vice presidential debate.
“AARP is frequently cited as a trusted source of information by the news media, public officials, think tanks and candidates for elected office,” Hishta states. “But we do not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates.”
But that AARP statement — which seems to embrace the idea of candidates using their name “as a trusted source of information — is very different from the one Hishta dropped after the first presidential debate. In the debate, Obama used AARP to attack Romney. “AARP has said that your plan would weaken Medicare substantially,” Obama said. And that’s why they were supportive of the approach that we took.”
Hishta pushed back against Obama for saying that. “AARP has never consented to the use of its name by any candidate or political campaign,” he and AARP said after the presidential debate last week. “AARP is a nonpartisan organization and we do not endorse political candidates nor coordinate with any candidate or political party.”
AARP inserted that statement into its online transcript of Obama and Romney’s remarks on Medicare, immediately after Obama’s offending remarks. Biden’s comment that “AARP endorsed what we did” is, like Obama’s, featured on the AARP website, but AARP did not put a statement into the vice presidential debate transcript.
Obama and Biden understandably assume they can use AARP’s name for their own purposes. The group owes them, because Obamacare will generate a lot of revenue for AARP.
“Thanks to its cuts to Medicare Advantage, Obamacare is expected to expand the number of seniors buying ‘medigap’ supplemental insurance plans,” The Washington Examiner explained in an editorial. “AARP controls 34 percent of the market for such plans. According to a 2011 House Ways and Means Committee report, AARP stands to make between $55 million and $166 million from Obamacare in 2014 alone.”