AARP Anger

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 18, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: They are out, 60,000 of them -- 60,000 senior citizens have bolted from AARP since July 1.

So what's up? Why are they all quitting? Joining us live is Elaine Guardiani who is quitting AARP. Elaine, how long have you been a member?


VAN SUSTEREN: So are you planning on quitting, or have you quit?

GUARDIANI: I have not quite yet because I have a hospitalization policy with them that I need to determine how I can separate, but I am definitely quitting or letting my membership run into nonrenewal.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why are you quitting?

GUARDIANI: Greta, health is something that deteriorates with the advancement of age, and that's a known fact, and those of us at the upper end of the spectrum are going to need more health care than those at the bottom end of that spectrum.

Now, the AARP understands this and that is what their core membership is. For them to come out very, very early on and come and support an endorsement of this bill was irresponsible, in my view, and this is what's causing most of us members to bolt.

VAN SUSTEREN: I do not know if there are formally endorsed it, but that they support health care reform, but that they will not endorse anything. Is that true or not true?

GUARDIANI: Well, that is what they are saying. I am not going to attest as to whether or not it is true.

Let's stay with many of us calling them early on, they did disavow the fact that they had endorsed or supported it. But yet we are getting literature from them and on their Web site, they are urging us to call our congressman and our senators and have them vote for this bill.

So I feel very strongly that they are supporting and they're talking out of both sides of their mouth.

VAN SUSTEREN: What are hearing from other members?

GUARDIANI: Well, I've very active on their community blog site, and remarkably people are extremely well informed. By and large it's maybe nine to one that disfavor this bill and are not in support of the AARP supporting in any way, shape, or form.

And people have read this bill, and we have discussed various sections of it. It is definitely not friendly to seniors.

VAN SUSTEREN: I do not know how you can figure out if it is friendly to seniors or not. I have struggled to try to read this thing, and I'm just stunned at the way it's written. So you are way ahead of me on that one.

Who is your congressman or senator?

GUARDIANI: We have Senator Dodd and Senator Lieberman.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you contacted Senator Dodd or Senator Lieberman? Both, I imagine, are in support of the health bill, at least certainly Senator Dodd. But have you contacted your senators?

GUARDIANI: I absolutely have, yes. Yes, I did that right away.

VAN SUSTEREN: What kind of response are you getting? What kind of response are you getting?

GUARDIANI: I got a canned response that had nothing to do with my views, and it was something that had been well prepared, and as soon as a subject that comes up that says "health care," there is a presentation that they already have programmed into their machine and you get that automatic response.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are there -- go ahead.

GUARDIANI: I also called Washington. I was not allowed to speak to the senators, but I was allowed to have their voice mail, and I made my views known that way as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you been to any town hall meetings? Has either of the senators held any town hall meetings? And I realize that Senator Dodd has undergone some surgery lately, but has a town hall meeting been held in your area?

GUARDIANI: Not that I know of, no.

VAN SUSTEREN: Would you like to go to one?

GUARDIANI: Yes, absolutely.


I do not know if you are aware of this or not, Greta, but on craigslist, there is actually an advertisement for people to be paid a $11 an hour to go to these town hall meetings and be disruptive and shout down anybody who is not in support of this bill.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, thank you for that tip. I will check that one out, Elaine, and follow up on it. Thanks for that tip, and good luck.

GUARDIANI: You're welcome, thank you, Greta.

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