The debate in the 2008 presidential cycle over long wait times and access to care at the VA wasn’t just limited to Barack Obama and John McCain. Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski adroitly used his Wayback Machine to find this clip of once and future candidate Hillary Clinton scoring points off of the Bush administration for the VA’s woes. Kaczynski notes too that the presumed Democratic frontrunner for 2016 has been curiously quiet about the explosion of fraud, deceit, and death at the VA:
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is so far silent on allegations that hospital officials doctored paperwork to cover long wait times for veterans seeking care, but as a 2008 presidential candidate she harshly criticized the care of veterans under President Bush.
“As a President, President Bush has not done what we needed to do for our veterans,” Clinton said at an El Paso, Texas campaign event in February of 2008. “We haven’t funded the VA. We have so many coming home who are injured and not being taken care of. I think it is the highest obligation of the President, who is also our commander in chief, to take care of those who have served our nation.”
Clinton pledged as president she would take care of U.S. veterans.
“I pledge to you: I will take care of our veterans. I will make sure our youngest veterans get what they need. We will honor our oldest veterans from World War II and I want to pay special attention to the veterans of my generation who served and fought in Vietnam, to give them what they deserve to have.”
Team Hillary declined to respond to BuzzFeed. In an interesting coincidence, though, she agreed to sit down with Fox News anchors Bret Baier and Greta van Susteren to promote her book Hard Choices. Presumably, this will allow Fox to challenge Hillary on her Benghazi narrative, but as Allahpundit pointed out on Twitter, it also gives Hillary an out later on the same topic:
What’s Hillary’s game with the Fox interview? Just wants to say “I already discussed Benghazi on Fox!” in the future, right?
— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) May 29, 2014
Would an interview in three weeks revisit Hillary’s 2008 VA activism and the contrasting silence over the past few weeks? Perhaps, but probably only if Eric Shinseki is still inexplicably in charge of the VA, in which case all of the executive-management approach questions become especially meaningful. If Shinseki departs, it’s likely that the pitch and volume of the media coverage will change — and along with it any real hook to get Hillary on the record. Besides, Baier and van Susteren have plenty of material for topics from Hillary’s State Department tenure without getting into someone else’s turf.