Chris Matthews sees the light, rips Obama’s approach to fixing the VA

Democratic water-carrier Chris Matthews made a U-turn Thursday, slamming President Obama for his handling of the ballooning Veterans Affairs scandal.

The host of MSNBC’s “Hardball” told guests U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and former Sen. Bob Kerrey that Obama was more concerned with his image than with the plight of veterans who can’t get medical care, according to Breitbart.

“Here the president is probably worried about Shinseki,” Matthews said after comparing the scandal to the Catholic Church’s long-time pattern of protecting priests over their molestation victims. “He should worry about the patient sitting out there now — four months he hasn’t
heard from a doctor. That’s who he should be talking about, not the PR of himself or the credentials of the administrator, but the person out there who served this country.”

When asked to offer a solution, Brown went off on an inexplicable tangent, voicing concern over the VA backlog and saying the president needs to understand the problem in the right context.

“I don’t have strong feelings whether Shinseki should step down or not, whether he should be fired or kept on,” Brown said. “I have strong feelings about the backlog that we’ve cut it in half.”

Reporters mock State Dept. spin: Obama ‘doesn’t give himself enough credit’

Matthews pointed out that the VA’s problems were systemic, saying Obama was waiting for reports from Shinseki and Rob Nabors.

“What’s the waiting time to hear from Obama,” Matthews asked. “Is it going to be as long as the waiting time to see a doctor?”

Kerrey, a Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, said Obama should appoint Nabors as interim VA chief and require that all veterans who cannot get an appointment within three to four weeks to be sent to a private hospital — on the VA’s tab.

“We can’t accept these long waiting lines,” Kerrey said. “Don’t make Rob Nabors produce a report and Shinseki produce a report. We need leadership.”

Richard Berkow

Former political news reporter Richard Berkow lost his idealism in the Kennedy years, and his innocence in Vietnam, Lebanon, and the Soviet Union. He hasn’t mellowed since, and can be harassed at [email protected]

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