CNN’s John King reported Thursday that Democrat sources had admitted privately that they were worried the Obama administration was more concerned about protecting itself politically than actually addressing the scandal surrounding the deaths of veterans due denied needed medical care.
In what King called a “potential tipping point” for the administration, Veteran Affairs Secretary Gen. Eric Shinseki is set to testify before Congress Thursday to answer questions regarding VA waiting lists that have led to the deaths of veterans waiting on crucial medical care. King said that Democrat sources expressed increasing concern that the response from the administration was more about absolving itself of blame than addressing the root of the issue:
King: The committee wants to know what is happening at VA hospitals around the country. At least two dozen veterans their deaths have been attributed to being put on waiting lists...
Democrats are getting worried like they were on health care. You’re starting to hear, “We’re not sure the administration is telling us everything. What else is there out there?”
Meanwhile, King stated, Republicans were pointing out that the administration officials’ handling of the issue seemed to reveal that the did not “trust their own people”:
King: Republicans are saying now that the administration has asked the deputy chief of staff at the White House to oversee what’s happening at the Veterans Affairs Department, don’t they trust their own people? Don’t they know the information they’re getting.
AP reporter Julie Pace attempted to defend the Obama administration, arguing that the allegations were “very worrisome” for the administration and Democrats “as a management issue” and that its decision to send an important White House advisor was proof that it took the scandal seriously.
King, however, read a statement from a “top Senate leadership” source who characterized the administration’s response to the scandal as “spin” and said, “This isn’t about covering your ass, it’s about taking care of guys who went to war so you didn’t have to.”