President Barack Obama greets audience members at a campaign event in Iowa (Larry Downing/Reuters)
The AARP plays a starring role in President Barack Obama's new ad defending his record on Medicare. But that doesn't mean the group has to like it.
Hours after the Democrat's campaign released its new commercial, AARP Senior Vice President John Hishta bluntly denied any involvement in the ad and scolded Obama (as well as Republican challenger Mitt Romney).
"The next president and Congress will decide the future of Medicare, and the candidates owe voters straight talk—not just 30-second ads—about what their plans will mean for today's seniors and future retirees," Hishta said in a statement.
"We were not aware of nor have any involvement with this campaign ad. AARP is a nonpartisan organization and we do not endorse political candidates," Hishta said. "For the last 26 years, we've been providing voters with balanced information, without all the political jargon and spin, so they can make their own decisions on Election Day."
Hishta said the organization's voter guide, published Aug. 24 on www.earnedsay.org, "will enable voters to not only find out where the candidates stand on the future of Medicare and Social Security, but to tell candidates what they think."
"We urge all presidential and congressional candidates to talk with voters about the future of Medicare and Social Security at the upcoming conventions, debates and other forums," he said.
Asked about the rebuke, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama would continue to lay out, in detail, his vision for the popular but costly Medicare program.