Obama defends handling of veterans affairs issues

By From page B8 | August 27, 2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  — His standing with veterans damaged by scandal, President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended his administration’s response to Veterans Affairs lapses that delayed health care for thousands of former service members, but conceded more needed to be done to regain their trust.

His appearance also had deep political overtones in a state where the Democratic senator, Kay Hagan, is facing a difficult re-election and has sought to distance herself from Obama’s policies, declaring as recently as Friday that his administration had not “done enough to earn the lasting trust of our veterans.”

But Hagan and the state’s Republican Senator, Richard Burr, were at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base to greet Obama. She welcomed him warmly and he gave her a peck on the cheek.

Obama and Hagan were both addressing the American Legion’s National convention, with the president’s address to the legionnaires the latest administration response to the health care uproar that led to the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in May.

Obama declared that the nation owes veterans for their service and that the lengthy wait times and attempts to hide scheduling flaws were “outrageous and inexcusable.”

“We are very clear-eyed about the problems that are still there,” Obama said. “And those problems require us to regain the trust of our veterans and live up to our vision of a VA that is more effective and more efficient and that truly puts veterans first. And I will not be satisfied until that happens.”

Obama promised “a new culture of accountability” under new Secretary Bob McDonald. “Bob doesn’t play,” Obama said.


The Associated Press

The Associated Press


Discussion | 19 comments

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  • rlw895August 27, 2014 - 5:01 am

    Sure am glad the president has learned to say "not be satisfied" instead of "won't rest." This president isn't allowed by some to rest. Slavedrivers!

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  • rlw895August 27, 2014 - 5:04 am

    What, no blaming Bush? Owning up to the problem without excuses? What WILL the Obama critics have to say? I assume nothing, because criticism is all they've got.

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  • Dave ShreeveAugust 27, 2014 - 9:40 am

    It is the usual from Obama. Talk tough and do nothing about it unless forced to, and then only with half measures.

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  • rlw895August 27, 2014 - 10:09 am

    We're talking about the VA scandal here. Congress passed a law funding the fixes. What "half measures" are you talking about? Obama asked for more money, but he's not complaining about it. Both congress AND the president were forced to act. It was nonpartisan; no finger-pointing except at bureaucrats who falsified records or gamed the system. Republicans in congress are using federal funds to sue Obama for acting too much rather than being forced to act. That's because congress, not the president, is guilty of inaction unless forced.

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  • CD BrooksAugust 27, 2014 - 10:33 am

    rlw895, let's not forget first, the GOP providing funding then withdrawing it, then began blaming all the VA problems on Obama.

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  • rlw895August 27, 2014 - 12:00 pm

    CD: I don't recall that, but in any event, Obama is not bringing it up. My point his opponents side can't find it in them to say anything positive about him, even when he's acting unequivocally presidential. Not one. That's irrational opposition.

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  • rlw895August 27, 2014 - 12:01 pm

    *point is

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  • ? *point isAugust 27, 2014 - 12:35 pm

    To generate more "comments" by making mistakes that "just have" to be corrected so that my comments scroll off the most recently comment page? or are you that much of a "FUSS BUDGET" rlw?

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  • SavetheRepublicAugust 27, 2014 - 12:38 pm

    * meant Commentary ....... see bottom of page options

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  • Mr. SmithAugust 27, 2014 - 2:16 pm

    Rlw: No more irrationally opposed to Obama than you and others here who go postal at the very mention of George Bush's name. Everyone should expect Obama to act "unequivocably presidential." If he does so, that is not necessarily grounds for heaping praise on the man. Now here's the kicker: Your definition of acting unequivocably presidential and my definition of same vary to a great degree I think. Since this is not a treatise on geopolitics, and we must save precious screen-space for a preview of the next Alex Jones show, I won't expound on that here.

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  • rlw895August 28, 2014 - 12:03 am

    Mr.S: Be sure to point it out to me next time I "go postal" a the mere mention of GWB's name. You don't have to heap praise on Obama, but I thought we had a deal that you would acknowledge when he's doing a good job or being unfairly criticized if I pointed out when I thought he was falling short. This should be an easy one for you.

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  • Mr. SmithAugust 28, 2014 - 8:53 am

    Ok, rlw--Maybe you folks with BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) no longer go postal, but you get my drift. I have stated that if Obama keeps his latest focus on destroying ISIL wherever they are, with or without allied assistance or Assad's approval, he just might rescue his legacy. That's pretty close to a compliment, right?

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  • rlw895August 28, 2014 - 9:22 am

    Mr.S: Well...compliments aren't to be buried in a condition. I'll take is you like where he's headed on ending ISUS since Foley's murder. Me too. How about dealing with the VA scandal, which is where I started.

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  • Mr. SmithAugust 28, 2014 - 9:35 am

    Rlw: If memory serves, Obama pledged to address the VA problem early on in his first term. Never happened. Fast forward to the recent past, and Obama is jolted out of his complacency by reports in the media that the VA was cooking the appointment books and letting veterans linger for months without treatment. That's when he got serious about the VA. If something positive comes out of it, then good for Obama and the veterans. Maybe its out there, but I don't recall reading much info in the media recently about the status of the cleanup effort.

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  • rlw895August 28, 2014 - 11:07 am

    Mr.S: I heard an interview on the radio about the situation in Phoenix, where it all started to unravel. Improvements are rolling. Obama (nor I) have ever denied this is a scandal, and it obviously was occurring on Obama's watch. But it was also occurring before he was in office. It was revealed on Obama's watch. CNN did the initial investigation and broke the story that something major was amiss. I don't recall any excuses from the Obama administration from Day 1, but we did see lots of action, and not cover-up action. A lot of people in the VA who knew or should have known about the misreporting were gone fast. Others may face criminal charges. Despite all that, the buck stops with Obama, especially because the VA was on his agenda for attention. I don't excuse the error. But I forgive it and respect the first class response once CNN broke the story. You don't or can't. So we move on.

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  • Mr. SmithAugust 28, 2014 - 11:30 am

    Rlw: I never condemned Obama's post-CNN response. His response was very good. I just found it amusing that it was supposedly the story in the media that tipped him off. Where was his staff? And lately we haven't seen much in the media about where they are in the clean-up. Too much other stuff going on in the world, I suppose.

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  • rlw895August 28, 2014 - 1:07 pm

    Mr.S: Some of his staff and advisors, up to the cabinet secretary level, betrayed his confidence in them. They're all gone now. Just like Sebelius. We can't complain that no heads rolled when things went wrong and people needed to be held accountable.

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  • rlw895August 28, 2014 - 9:28 am

    Mr.S: Oh, and be sure to point out ANY symptoms of BDS in me. Sounds like a worrisome mental condition. I'll continue to point out your ODS symptoms.

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  • ?August 28, 2014 - 9:45 am

    Confusion say..... Reading rlw posts not sit well with Confusion.... rlw off his rocker

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