White House: Obama Misspoke When He Said AARP Was ‘Endorsing’ Health Reform Package
August 13, 2009 - 12:10 PMPresident Barack Obama misspoke when he said that the AARP was "endorsing" the Democratic health care proposal, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today.
“Well, first of all, another myth that we've been hearing about is this notion that somehow we're going to be cutting your Medicare benefits. We are not,” Obama said in a town hall meeting yesterday in New Hampshire. “AARP would not be endorsing a bill if it was undermining Medicare, okay?”
Obama also said: “We have the AARP on board because they know this is a good deal for our seniors,” Obama said.
In response to the president’s statements, AARP issued a statement of its own denying that it had endorsed any health care bill.
At today’s press briefing, in the wake of the AARP statement, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs stepped back from the president’s comments in New Hampshire.
“What the president said--the AARP has said they are certainly supportive for years of health care reform that is comprehensive,” Gibbs said.
When a reporter asked if the president misspoke, Gibbs answered, “Yes.”
“While the President was correct that AARP will not endorse a health care reform bill that would reduce Medicare benefits, indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate,” AARP Chief Operating Officer Tom Nelson said in a statement.
AARP does support specific measures to reform health care, Nelson said, and would like to see a bill this year.
“We share the President’s commitment to act this year, and our members appreciate his insistence that any final reform package will not reduce Medicare benefits for the millions of people that literally depend on that program as a lifeline,” said Nelson. “We look forward to working with leaders of both parties, including the President, to build a final package we could endorse that addresses the concerns of the 50-plus population and brings quality, affordable health care choices to every American.”