Dems, GOP trade barbs on their past statements on AARP 

During this morning's hearing on AARP, Democrats and Republicans both threw statements made about the group during the debate over the Medicare prescription drug plan in 2003 right back at each other.

Democrats on the Ways and Means committee noted that the AARP supported President Bush's Medicare prescription drug plan, and at the time, prominent Republicans touted that endorsement. President Bush even praised the AARP for "doing what was  right, for focusing on the needs of the seniors of our country."

Then-House Speaker, Republican Dennis Hastert said, "AARP gives you the ''Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval' when it comes to seniors' issues."

But Republicans were quick to use Democrats' own past statements to bolster their case against AARP.

"AARP members know they are being sold out by an organization that is happily using member dues and Medigap premiums to promote a Medicare bill that does more harm than good," Rep. Pete Stark, Calif., a ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means committee, was quoted as saying.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., claimed that AARP was "in the pocket" of Republicans.

And Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., had said: "AARP has forgotten where they come from, because once you get into the business of making money with the devil, you forget your mission."

Neither party came off looking particularly good in this exchange. But the one constant, as I've noted a number of times, is that AARP is only bipartisan in the sense that it offers support to any party that is expanding the role of government in a way that's good for AARP's business.

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