Paul Ryan was not well received when he spoke at the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Friday afternoon, getting booed for supporting the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and transforming Medicare’s benefit guarantee into a “premium support.”
But the animosity appears to be mutual. Throughout the health care reform debate, Republicans regularly lashed out at the AARP for backing the effort, with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) famously calling on seniors to rip up their membership cards. Ryan also got into the act, deriding the organization as a “left-leaning pressure group” that is more interested in financially benefiting from reform than protecting seniors. As Steve Benen pointed out:
But House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), responsible for shaping his caucus’ agenda, appears to be have been rattled by all of this. He lashed out at AARP this week, blasting the organization as “a left-leaning pressure group with significant business interests in the insurance industry,” which is “intentionally misleading” the public. As Ryan sees it, AARP is in insurers’ back pocket, making it both corrupt and unreliable in the debate.
Speaking before the organization as a vice presidential nominee, however, Ryan struck a more conciliatory tone. “You can get to common ground on these problems if you treat people with respect without compromising your principles,” he noted.