Jay Carney should be able to lie better than this.
Really. Truncating quotes from the American Legion to make it look like it had praised the Obama administration when it all but damned it is a bush league trick, bound to be found out. But that’s exactly what the White House press secretary did.
In an irritable exchange Monday with ABC’s Jonathan Karl, Carney repeatedly invoked the good name of the Legion to defend the Obama administration’s handling of revelations that the Department of Veterans Affairs has been falsifying the amount of time vets have had to wait for medical treatment, with sometimes fatal consequences.
So far, the only official to lose his job in the uproar has been VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel, whose “resignation” is being treated by the White House as a show of accountability, even though Petzel’s retirement was announced in September, long before the scandal became public.
If the American Legion was happy with that, Carney implied, the American public should be too, Carney suggested.
But the American Legion wasn’t happy about it. Actually, it had very publicly stated exactly the opposite.
This is part of Carney’s performance Monday, where he said, “The American Legion said that the group looks at Petzel’s resignation as a, quote, step towards addressing the leadership problem at the VA.”
And this is the rest of what Legion National Cmd. Daniel M. Dellinger had to say on the subject, according to it its website:
“This move by VA is not a corrective action, but a continuation of business as usual. Dr. Petzel was already scheduled to retire this year, so his resignation now really won’t make that much of a difference.
“Meanwhile, Secretary Shinseki and Under Secretary Hickey remain on the job. They are both part of VA’s leadership problem, and we want them to resign as soon as possible. This isn’t personal. VA needs a fundamental shift in leadership if it is to defeat its systemic lack of accountability.”
As the public face for one of the most deceptive White Houses in history, Carney’s gotten as much practice as any press secretary at lying to the world press and the American public.
He really should be better at it by now.
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