Open thread: Obama statement on VA following Shinseki meeting; Update: CBS says no resignation

posted at 9:51 am on May 21, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier today, embattled VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s schedule got shifted abruptly to include a 10 am face-to-face meeting with President Barack Obama. Even before the meeting started, the White House announced that Obama would have a statement for the press 45 minutes after Shinseki arrives at his office:

There doesn’t appear to be much mystery any longer. Scheduling a statement about a meeting before it takes place provides a strong indication that the meeting’s outcome has already been determined. The New York Times readout of White House activity also makes it sound as though Obama has decided to make changes at the top of the VA:

Officials said that Rob Nabors, the president’s deputy chief of staff, will join his boss in the meeting with Mr. Shinseki. Mr. Obama has ordered Mr. Nabors to work full-time at the V.A. department to help the secretary conduct a review of the policies at hospitals around the country.

Mr. Nabors is scheduled to fly to Phoenix on Wednesday evening for a series of discussions with officials at the V.A. hospital there. Reports that workers were hiding delays in wait times for doctors’ appointments first surfaced several weeks ago at that facility.

The existence of the Oval Office meeting on Wednesday was added to Mr. Obama’s public schedule and disclosed early Wednesday morning. The White House said the meeting would be closed to the press and officials did not indicate whether Mr. Obama or his aides would make public remarks about the situation after their discussions.

The president is also sending Denis R. McDonough, his chief of staff, to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to consult with the chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Senator Bernard Sanders, independent of Vermont. Lawmakers are working on bipartisan legislation that would give veterans officials greater authority to fire those responsible at the department. The House is expected to vote on Wednesday on a bill, and the Senate is expected to hold hearings on the legislation soon.

McDonough would also be the man dispatched to brief Sanders and his House counterpart Jeff Miller on a change in leadership at the VA. Given that the legislation in question hasn’t even scheduled hearings on the bill, it seems more likely that this is McDonough’s mission today. With Shinseki at the White House, a legislative liaison about a barely-processed Senate bill cannot be high up on the priority list for the chief of staff.

If Obama wanted to keep Shinseki around, he would almost certainly avoid making a public statement about it, and especially not on live TV. The probes of VA facilities have just gotten started (which is part of the problem), and a public statement on live TV about how much Obama wants to keep Shinseki on board will be embarrassing if these probes turn up evidence of incompetence at the highest levels of the VA, or worse. On the other hand, a change like this almost requires a live statement from the Commander in Chief in order to boost his presidential aura while bouncing his own pick to run the agency.

Update: According to Major Garrett at CBS, there will be no resignation — just an opportunity for Obama to vent his anger:

https://twitter.com/petermaercbs/status/469124364567584768

This will be a big problem for Obama as more data pours out of this scandal. It’s going to be a big, red marker pointing to his own executive deficiencies, as well as Shinseki’s. Why not hold the presser first, and then meet with Shinseki if this was the intended message? The President needs better political advisers, to be sure.

Update: ABC’s Jon Karl confirms that there will be no personnel announcements today:

https://twitter.com/jonkarl/status/469127343295168512

And of course, Obama’s late to his own presser again, which isn’t exactly communicating outrage over a lack of timely care for veterans.

CBS has a live video feed for the statement, which is scheduled for 10:45. Obama’s usually late to these press statements, but depending on how quickly the meeting concludes, perhaps he’ll show up early:


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26 sites, so far…there are 1,700 VA hospitals in the land.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, for the fools who think “this is the 1st real scandal”. Good luck to you weasels.

Schadenfreude on May 21, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Actually, only 150 Hospitals and 820 Outpatiend Clinics, but point well taken.

GAlpha10 on May 21, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Start here

http://vaoversight.org/

Schadenfreude on May 21, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Thanks, I already have. I had an appointment that disappeared from the sight where Vets can look at their appointments, I always recieve a phone call and a mail notice prior to the appointment. When I called they said I still had the appointment. I askd why it wasn’t showing on the web site and they said it happens, now with this I wonder.

Sven on May 21, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Actually, only 150 Hospitals and 820 Outpatiend Clinics, but point well taken.

GAlpha10 on May 21, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Ok – contact Fox…what they said this morning. Thanks.

Schadenfreude on May 21, 2014 at 11:46 AM

DemocRats! no one ever gets fired, no one ever goes to jail.

RdLake on May 21, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Sven on May 21, 2014 at 11:44 AM

You’re seeing that through Blue Button or is there another patient portal that Vets use to view their appointments?

Just a suggestion…start making screen copies.

lineholder on May 21, 2014 at 11:48 AM

I think this “presser” is only going to get veterans more angry.

BuckeyeSam on May 21, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Yeah he can call some semi-literate gay athlete or a slut and make decisive statements about how they were wronged. He can weigh in on a street thug’s death in Florida or a racist’s friend who got treated like “normal people.”

But when it comes to our nations vets or dead Ambassadors, we can’t rush to judgement until all the facts are known by “exhaustive” internal investigations intended to hide the guilt of highly placed administration officials. I’m sure the vets were happy to hear that they had to sit down and shut up until the investigation was over…… given that this administration has been deaf to the vets complaints since the very beginning when they nominated a once-honorable but now discredited VA director because he said mean things about GWB and Rumsfeld.

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Doughboy on May 21, 2014 at 11:43 AM

I hear you. I don’t have the answers. I just understand the reluctance to abandon the field.

American military have served poor masters before…but they hung in there.

Missy on May 21, 2014 at 11:49 AM

O don’t want to have game on this VA mess, it was part of his fathers dream for American fighting men get punnished.

He sleeps better now that his fathers dream has come true and he Obama helped it happen.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 21, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Yepper tarheel Ben @11:21

Move along now dear leader has spoken…. future phony scandal

cmsinaz on May 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Doughboy on May 21, 2014 at 11:43 AM

I would also say that giving up is exactly what Obama wants. The goal is to so thoroughly demoralize the military that all the good people quit and he can put his goons in.

Missy on May 21, 2014 at 11:51 AM

I would also say that giving up is exactly what Obama wants. The goal is to so thoroughly demoralize the military that all the good people quit and he can put his goons in.

Missy on May 21, 2014 at 11:51 AM

That may be the ultimate “be careful what you wish for” scenario. The Dems can hate on the military all they want, but this country wouldn’t last a week without them. No “civilian defense force” or whatever the hell Obama fantasizes about would ever be able to fill the void.

Doughboy on May 21, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Obama to veterans:

“You all volunteered for the military, you should have done a better job of evaluating the risk of getting wounded which, btw, is not my fault”

BobMbx on May 21, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Pathetic. up our game!? This is not a game sfb.

jake49 on May 21, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Schadenfreude on May 21, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Read this whole thread, keep blazing the trail :)

When I ‘grow’ up I wanna be like you :D

Scrumpy on May 21, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Brilliant observation, as I’ve come to expect from you. 0 has no problem at all spouting off if it doesn’t involve his administration, otherwise, activate playbook.

JusDreamin on May 21, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Same old – same old…Obama’s rhetoric is disturbing. Like all of his scandals, this one will die a quick death. Nothing will be done to improve the VA and no Democrat will be punished for their incompetence. Laws only apply to conservatives in his regime.

cajunpatriot on May 21, 2014 at 11:59 AM

No “civilian defense force” or whatever the hell Obama fantasizes about would ever be able to fill the void.

Doughboy on May 21, 2014 at 11:54 AM

I agree. Unfortunately history shows that militaries can be brought to heel by lefty dictators w/o such forces.

Missy on May 21, 2014 at 12:03 PM

How many times has O thrown around the phrase: The fierce urgency of now” at his revival shows?

Isn’t it more like the fierce urgency of … “someone else at some point….?”

LetsBfrank on May 21, 2014 at 12:04 PM

I will not stand for these allegations of wrongdoing. Stop alleging wrongdoing.
-bo

tdarrington on May 21, 2014 at 12:05 PM

What a freak this guy is.

Churchill – “Never have so many owed so much, to so few” “We need to up our game”

Patrick Henry – “As for me, give me liberty….or give me death” “We need to up our game”

Roosevelt – “The only thing we have to fear…..is fear itself” “We need to up our game”

Julius Ceasar – “Et tu, Brute`?” “We need to up our game”

Clinton –

“I did not have sex with that woman….Ms. Lewinsky”

“We need to up our game”

BobMbx on May 21, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Tommy Vietor: “Dude, it was only like a few vets.”

LetsBfrank on May 21, 2014 at 12:07 PM

BobMbx on May 21, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Heh.

But don’t you have to show up to the game first?

LetsBfrank on May 21, 2014 at 12:09 PM

BobMbx on May 21, 2014 at 12:07 PM

F-

BobMbx on May 21, 2014 at 12:10 PM

No termination of Shinseki?.
The systemic fraud and deception is obvious.
I see only two possibilities:

1). The practice was known and accepted by senior leadership. Unacceptable and possibly criminal.
2). Senior leadership was unaware of rampant fraud on a key measure. Total incompetence, unacceptable.

I’m sure plenty in the chain of command should be fired and determining who will require detailed, thorough investigation, but unless I’m missing a third possibility, the top guy has to go, as no investigation could possibly come to any other conclusions regarding leadership.

JusDreamin on May 21, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Scheduling a statement about a meeting before it takes place provides a strong indication that the meeting’s outcome has already been determined.

Of course there will be no firing or resignation. That would impute that The Chosen One made a mistake in hiring the person in the first place.

King Barack the Magnificent doesn’t make mistakes.

GarandFan on May 21, 2014 at 12:11 PM

BobMbx on May 21, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Strong, memorable words are old skool, Dog Eater is new skool.

Just be glad he didn’t say “Foshizzle”.

Bishop on May 21, 2014 at 12:12 PM

You’re seeing that through Blue Button or is there another patient portal that Vets use to view their appointments?

Just a suggestion…start making screen copies.

lineholder on May 21, 2014 at 11:48 AM

I check my appointments at My Health Vet. I definitely make screenshots now.

Sven on May 21, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Does anyone know why Obama kept referring to Eric Shinseki as ‘Ric Shinseki’?

Resist We Much on May 21, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Obama’s Shutter Island defense

faraway on May 21, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Does anyone know why Obama kept referring to Eric Shinseki as ‘Ric Shinseki’?

Resist We Much on May 21, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Come on, go easy on the guy he can only say what his teleprompter or Valerie tell him.

Sven on May 21, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Fish rot from head and our country is rotting.

SCOAMFs gots to SCOAMF.

jukin3 on May 21, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Barry’s buddy “Ric” just turned him COMPLETELY lame duck.

And as a Veteran, I say they can both burn in Hell.

If there was justice, either if them would be forced to use their own medical system, for their families.

a5minmajor on May 21, 2014 at 12:19 PM

“We need to up our game”

BobMbx on May 21, 2014 at 12:07 PM

#UpOurGame

nextgen_repub on May 21, 2014 at 12:19 PM

once again, he’s angry and going to get to the bottom of things. But we know nothing will be done, lies will be told, and a cover up will take place. I’m so sick of seeing this happen again and again.

greencalliope on May 21, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Does anyone know why Obama kept referring to Eric Shinseki as ‘Ric Shinseki’?

Resist We Much on May 21, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Because obama is a fool.

He, as “your CiC”, as he’s fond of repeating, having started out like that, should call him “Gen. Shinseki”.

Yes, yes, he’s also a fool who thinks he’s a “Ric”.

Schadenfreude on May 21, 2014 at 12:25 PM

So, he’s looking into it? Well, all done, all better.

Cindy Munford on May 21, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Thank you, Scrumps, but it’s not easy, and dangerous too. Though, wouldn’t change it for any price, not for billions.

Schadenfreude on May 21, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Happy Nomad on May 21, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Brilliant observation, as I’ve come to expect from you. 0 has no problem at all spouting off if it doesn’t involve his administration, otherwise, activate playbook.

JusDreamin on May 21, 2014 at 11:58 AM

He’s the most goddamn powerful man of the free world, I think he can say what he wants

nonpartisan on September 14, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Thanks for playing Mister Harvard Lawyer.

slickwillie2001 on May 21, 2014 at 12:29 PM

He’s the most goddamn powerful man of the free world, I think he can say what he wants

nonpartisan on September 14, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Did that methodology apply to Bush, or are you setting another unprecedented first for jugears?

BobMbx on May 21, 2014 at 12:31 PM

As the last of the passengers boarded the train leaving I’m Outraged, the conductor shouted “next stop Phony Scandal.”

randy on May 21, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Fox’s Jon Scott, whose a West Point grad, seems very unpleased as well.

Nina Easton just made fun of Obama for trying to warn about making this a political football.

BuckeyeSam on May 21, 2014 at 11:26 AM

The only problem this jackass has is that republicans might make an issue of it? You know what would put that in check? Firing Shinseki.

And he puts the blame on folks down the chain for not letting him know what was going on. THEY’VE BEEN TELLING HIM.

Buck Farky on May 21, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Sven on May 21, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Good! I wish we could set it up where more Vets did this. And have a centralized location where the data could be submitted and evaluated.

It might give us a way to conduct an audit (of sorts) from outside the system. If that could be used to help develop patient protections…it’s definitely better by far than nothing!!!

lineholder on May 21, 2014 at 12:46 PM

You know what he probably told Shinseki? That Rs wanted his head and Obama wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction. Because he’s petty like that.

Buck Farky on May 21, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Funny but the ticker in O’s head probably reads: I would be a better VA Secretary than the VA Secretary.

All of this, this managing is beneath him you see. It’s not even that it bores him, it’s that having to attend to the details of this is beneath him because he has already has arrived at his pre-ordained destination (Presidency) so this really doesn’t even make the Obama grid. In actuality, he has no idea how this happened or how it could be prevented. And he does not know that he does not know.

I’m not even being sarcastic.

LetsBfrank on May 21, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Funny but the ticker in O’s head probably reads: I would be a better VA Secretary than the VA Secretary.

All of this, this managing is beneath him you see. It’s not even that it bores him, it’s that having to attend to the details of this is beneath him because he has already has arrived at his pre-ordained destination (Presidency) so this really doesn’t even make the Obama grid. In actuality, he has no idea how this happened or how it could be prevented. And he does not know that he does not know.

I’m not even being sarcastic.

LetsBfrank on May 21, 2014 at 12:53 PM

It’s because he really isn’t the President, he is the puppet and Valerie Jarrett and his handlers tell him what to say and do. He was only picked because he was Black (to accuse Republicans of racism) and he made a great speech at a convention. He doesn’t have a clue on how to lead, manage etc. because he isn’t suppose to.

Sven on May 21, 2014 at 1:03 PM

This

Sven on May 21, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Sven on May 21, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Wonder if they’re giving placebos to Vets to cover the discrepancy? Of course, if they aren’t allowing any to audit for discrepancies, they don’t have to worry about the placebos, do they?

This the same type of pattern that has been seen with the abortion industry. Abortion is one of the “sacred cows” to the left, so they cover for medical malpractice, wrongful deaths, illegal activity, etc.

Socialized medicine is another “sacred cow” for the left. VA is the testing ground for socialized medicine in the left. So now we’re seeing coverups for all sorts of illegal and unethical behavior here as well.

lineholder on May 21, 2014 at 1:29 PM

When CNN starts questioning – well, maybe there’s a leak in the MSM dyke that has protected this Dem administration from being held accountable for ANYTHING.

There used to be a phrase, “Nothing fazes him; water off a duck’s back.” Well, these Dems get fazed by NOTHING unless it’s their personal egos. YIKES

MN J on May 21, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Prezidentun is hard! The clown show continues. People continue to die.

Luthier on May 21, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Your oaf in chief and his court

Schadenfreude on May 21, 2014 at 2:29 PM

n case you were wondering, here’s a list of major Obama Administration scandals, by Department/Agency:

State Department: Benghazi (Shared with CIA, DoD), Arab Spring
Department of the Interior: BLM dealing with Cliven Bundy, shutdown of parks and monuments (Shared with OPM)
Department of Veterans Affairs: Hospital wait times deaths, $6 million spent on 2 conferences at Disney
Department of Justice: Fast & Furious, Holder contempt of Congress, spying on reporters
Department of Treasury: IRS targeting Conservative and Tea Party groups
Department of Energy: Solyndra and other “green energy” grants
Environmental Protection Agency: Administrator used fake email identity
National Security Agency: world-wide collection of email, phone calls, texts, and internet use
Department of Health and Human Services: Obamacare, Sebelius shaking down corporations for donations
Department of Agriculture: Pigford
General Services Administration: Vegas conference
Department of Homeland Security: Several Secret Service scandals

Quite a record to be proud of.

That only leaves Commerce, Labor, HUD, Transportation, and Education without major scandals.

GAlpha10 on May 21, 2014 at 2:36 PM

GAlpha10 on May 21, 2014 at 2:36 PM

You left out a few, but no worries. It’s hard to keep track without a scorecard.

The DoJ raided a reports home and confiscated her PC and notes she was “unauthorized” to have

The DOJ wiretapped the AP illegally.

Was it the FBI or DoJ that tapped Rosen? I gotta make a scorecard.

There are 10+ Green tech companies similar to Solyndra for example that all got “loans” from the energy department. Gateway pundit had a list.

How many vets have to die before some real changes are made? Looks like a lot more.

Zero isn’t going to do anything.

dogsoldier on May 21, 2014 at 3:06 PM

That only leaves Commerce, Labor, HUD, Transportation, and Education without major scandals.

GAlpha10 on May 21, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Still 2.5 years to go… plenty of time to includevolve the remainder.

jffree1 on May 21, 2014 at 3:22 PM

dogsoldier on May 21, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Still 2.5 years to go… plenty of time to includevolve the remainder.

jffree1 on May 21, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Yea, those are only the ones we know about. I’m sure there are others being hidden from view.

GAlpha10 on May 21, 2014 at 3:37 PM

With Obama the only deed worthy of forced resignation (and even then with full pay and pension)is if you deliberately orchestrate a dive bombing attack into a federal office building. Gross incompetence, criminal negligence and a deep, abstract hatred of veterans doesn’t even come close to reaching this level.

Besides the real culprit is not an Affirmative Action Toadstool (Shinseki) but Bush-caused global warming which melted Shinseki’s brain.

MaiDee on May 21, 2014 at 3:58 PM

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