Carney: President first learned about VA allegations from CNN report
May 19th, 2014
03:40 PM ET
6 months ago

Carney: President first learned about VA allegations from CNN report

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama first learned through news reports on CNN about accusations that officials at a Veterans Affairs medical facility in Phoenix had allegedly used fraudulent lists to conceal wait times for veterans receiving care, a top White House spokesman said Monday.

"If you mean the specific allegations that I think were first reported by your network out of Phoenix I believe, we learned about them through the reports," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in reference to CNN's story on April 23.

While maintaining the President did not know about the accusations of fake patient lists, Carney stressed Obama has been aware of the general problem of long wait times and inadequate care at Veterans Affairs facilities for several years.

In 2007, then-Sen. Obama of Illinois vowed to tackle the issue and build a "21 century VA to serve our veterans" at a campaign event during his first run for the presidency.

"When a veteran is denied care, we are all dishonored," Obama said in the August 2007 speech. "It's not enough to lay a wreath on Memorial Day, or to pay tribute to our veterans in speeches," he added.

Carney said the President continues to have confidence in embattled VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. But the White House spokesman cautioned there may be additional consequences for officials who are deemed responsible for delays in veterans' care caused by concealed lists in the system.

"Accountable individuals must be held to account," Carney said.

The President has not publicly addressed the controversy in nearly three weeks since he first commented on the matter during a trip to Asia.

Carney hinted that may likely change this week. "I'm sure you'll hear from him on this issue soon," Carney said.

The Washington Times reported Monday that in late 2008 the Obama-Biden transition team was told about wait time issues at VA medical facilities.

Carney insisted the Obama administration addressed those concerns by securing budget increases for veterans care.

"We asked for and received from Congress significant increases in the Veterans Affairs budget. In the meantime, we saw an increase, obviously, in the number of veterans demanding services from the V.A. because of the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq," Carney said.


Filed under: President Obama • Veterans • Veterans Affairs
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Tommy G

    President Barack Obama first learned through news reports on CNN about accusations that officials at a Veterans Affairs medical facility in Phoenix had allegedly used fraudulent lists to conceal wait times for veterans receiving care, a top White House spokesman said Monday.
    ---

    Why am I not surprised... Obama is the most incompetent President of all time. He has an entire crew of incompetent idiots working for him and they don't seem to know what is going on either. The Obama adminstration is an embarrassment from start to finish.

    But not to worry, everybody will be promoted and given raises.

    May 19, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    They did say they were two lists and they were keeping the WH in the dark. I don't believe for a minute President Obama was ok with this. Actually I don't believe any POTUS would be. But don't let that stop you from inventing another nontroversy that the POTUS surely knew and is surely behind this.

    I'm sure Issa will be investigating by weeks end.
    FIFY

    May 19, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    They first heard it the same way most everyone did. So, what. There's nothing to see here.

    May 19, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. ProudDem

    Yeah Tommy, a President should have intimate knowledge about what every government office all across the country is doing. They are all knowing and all seeing. So of course he didn't know what these VA offices were doing because he's incompetent...but he must have known what an IRS office in Ohio was doing checking applications because he's behind everything. He's stupid or he's an evil genius...depending on the right's needs at any given time for any news story.

    May 19, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. Chris-E...al

    Carney is the joke that just keeps on giving ....And Not funny ha ha .

    May 19, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    They should put the VETERNS under the aca and the goverment should let them go to any doctor and the goverment should pick up the tab. They could save billions and give the VETERNS the QUALITY CARE they DESERVE!!!!!

    May 19, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. Abbey

    Baloney. This president has worn out his fear and blame game a long time ago.

    May 19, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @Tommy G: President Obama is the most incompetent yada yada yada ....

    Typical RWNJ knee-jerk comment. What is it about they were keeping two lists and keeping the White House in the dark that you don't get? Oh, my bad, you don't GET anything!

    May 19, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. truth hurts but reality bites

    Rudy NYC
    They first heard it the same way most everyone did. So, what. There's nothing to see here.
    ---

    Except several whistleblowers had gone to VA higher ups and reported the practice and nothing was done. It is yet another case of government stonewalling and trying to cover up its incompetence, especially when people are dying because of it.

    The left likes to joke about Obamacare death panels well here we have an actual case of death lists at the VA and Rudy, true to form, labels it nothing to see. Tell that to the families of the dead Rudy.

    May 19, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. CryBabies

    Did we really expect anything different? Words don't do this article justice. When I heard this from Jay Carney...I LedOL.

    May 19, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. smith

    Kudos to CNN for bring to light this story. This is just plain awful and needs to fixed quickly.

    May 19, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. O'drama ya Mama

    Nice move, it worked for Christie why not let Obama try it and see if Republicans continue their hypocrisy or accept it as is

    May 19, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "They first heard it the same way most everyone did. So, what. There's nothing to see here."

    Pretty much. Part of the alleged wrongdoing was that they were keeping things secret. So it stands to reason that people up the chain weren't getting informed. Meanwhile, Hysterical Tommy wants to pretend that Obama should've been stopping by every VA hospital in the country on a regular basis to personally check their records. Yawn.

    Really, this story is about one thing: CNN is tooting it's horn for breaking the story to the POTUS, which is fair enough, albeit not terribly interesting or substantive.

    May 19, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. Gurgyl

    All these VA stuff is just another garbage to outrage presidency. Birth certificate gone, Obamacare came, it went Benghazi came, it went, VA came, it gone shut down came, everything landed GOP lost like worst than dogs. Hillary16.

    May 19, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. Thomas

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the same thing about the GW Bridge ..

    Good reporting CNN .

    May 19, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. rs

    Tommy G

    President Barack Obama first learned through news reports on CNN about accusations that officials at a Veterans Affairs medical facility in Phoenix had allegedly used fraudulent lists to conceal wait times for veterans receiving care, a top White House spokesman said Monday.
    -

    Why am I not surprised... Obama is the most incompetent President of all time. He has an entire crew of incompetent idiots working for him and they don't seem to know what is going on either. The Obama adminstration is an embarrassment from start to finish.

    But not to worry, everybody will be promoted and given raises.
    _________________________
    Funny enough, this new "damning" report released last week chronicles 150 some deaths due to delayed health care at VA facilities since 2001 (and who was President for most of the time since 2001???). That's slightly north of 10 per year. Bad, certainly, but given Republican Governors' halt on expanding Medicaid lead to more than 48,000 deaths due to the lack of health care, I think this one is a tempest in a teapot by comparison.
    You have to give it to the Right- they worry so much more about the small numbers- the big ones are incomprehensible to them.

    May 19, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. CALIFORNIA

    Hence our media being so important in this country. Our media being ignorant about our government really should never happen yet it does often.

    May 19, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. Terry Poupart

    That is strange. The only story I could find about this horrible scandal was on the 'political' page. As if our veterans literally dying for healthcare was simply a 'political' problem for our Dear Leader. On the other hand, CNN also considers our Ambassador and other American's killed in Benghazi as simply a 'political' problem. Why is it that in every one of these numerous scandals the President only finds out when it finally comes out in the government controlled media? Either this is the most corrupt administration in history or the most incompetent. Which is it Rudy and FIFY? You have to choose one or the other you can't have it both ways.

    May 19, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. Antares201

    CNN/AC360 is hellbent on pining the blame for the VA's problem on President Obama, but what about the GOP's role? They refuse to spend as much money on vets/VA as they do for defense. These problems pre-date the Obama Administration but that's not what the MSM wants to report. The GOP blocked jobs bills and Veteran's benefits continually. President Obama would never try to block funding for the VA – ONLY the GOP would and that's why there's a problem.

    May 19, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. Marty

    If this is true the President needs to change his staff. This man is left out of the loop to often or has a memory problem.

    May 19, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. rs

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    They did say they were two lists and they were keeping the WH in the dark. I don't believe for a minute President Obama was ok with this. Actually I don't believe any POTUS would be. But don't let that stop you from inventing another nontroversy that the POTUS surely knew and is surely behind this.

    I'm sure Issa will be investigating by weeks end.
    FIFY
    _______________________
    Logic question: Who would be crazy or dumb enough to actually maintain a "list" of cases where there was failure to provide health care- one that leads to deaths, while maintaining another whole separate list of successful, and on-time service? Here in Arizona, all the VA detractors say "everybody knew of the list", yet no one has produced it, or any evidence it actually does exist. Sure, it's very evident the VA can improve (a lot), but this sort of conspiracy quality the GOP is wrapping around health care for veterans would be funny except that real lives have been affected. As the related report cites deaths since 2001, this hardly seems to be anything to be pined on one President, one VA Director, one hospital or one administrator.

    May 19, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. A Kickin` Donkey

    Every national "leader" and that includes the blowhard in Congress that will be lining up in front of a bank of microphones to express their outrage at this has been derelict on the topic.

    If I had been elected to Congress and sat on some Veterans OVERSIGHT committee, I would have caught this early. Why? Because for several years invetigative journalists like Rachel Maddow Show have been HIGHLIGHTING inordinate delays in disabled veteran benefits. As executives [and I don`t have to go to Mr. Obama`s level to hit my target] that should have been enough to cause a reveiw on the pace and timliness of VA care. When I ran business operations, I expected my people to have an ear to the ground and extrapolate from what they knew to what could be.

    With the noise Maddow made regarding disability status for vets, a true Congressional oversight team should have been on this in 2011 or before.

    May 19, 2014 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. rs

    But not to worry, everybody will be promoted and given raises.
    _________________________
    "Heck of a job, Brownie..."

    May 19, 2014 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Well a Kickin Donkey it's hard to investigate real scandals when you're searching strawberry patches for elephants.

    May 19, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |