Hillary Campaign Does Damage Control After She Downplays the VA Scandal

Cortney O'Brien
|
Posted: Oct 29, 2015 7:30 AM
Hillary Campaign Does Damage Control After She Downplays the VA Scandal

Earlier this week, Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton managed to offend a demographic everyone agrees deserves our utmost respect: veterans. The former secretary of state had the opportunity to challenge the Department of Veterans Affairs on its scandal-plagued agency, yet she oddly claimed the fallout hasn't been as "widespread" as some have said.

Has she followed the news? The VA's disgraceful treatment of veterans was reported all across the country last year. Our servicemen and women faced deficient care, filthy hospital rooms and inexcusably long wait times. Some even died from negligence. Those weren't rumors. Those were facts. That's why Clinton is now receiving a barrage of bipartisan criticism.

GOP candidate Jeb Bush said her comments were insulting.

Sen. Marco Rubio said her interview proved she was "out of touch" with the problems Americans are facing.

"People talk about this," he said at an event hosted by Concerned Vets for America, which is backed by the Koch Brothers. "I don't know where she's getting her information, but she's out of touch ... not designed to deal with 21st century issues that face vets." 

Some Democrats were equally as frustrated by Clinton's dismissal of the very serious scandal. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, (D-AZ) offered this criticism:

"The problems we've seen at the Phoenix VA are devastating and real," she said in a e-mailed statement. "The VA scandal has nothing to do with partisan politics and everything to do with systemic failure, negligence and lack of accountability."

Clinton's campaign is now trying to minimize the fallout by walking back her insensitive remarks.

Brian Fallon, Clinton's press secretary, acknowledged to CNN wait times and other mismanagement of care by the Department of Veterans Affairs were indeed "systemic" and that Clinton will roll out her plan to reform the VA in November.

"Even now, too many of our veterans are still waiting an unacceptably long time to see a doctor, or to process disability claims and appeals," Fallon said in a statement to CNN.

Is the damage already done and can she kiss veteran support goodbye in next year's election? Fallon said her plan to reform the VA will be released soon. It better be good.