May 21st, 2014
03:41 PM ET
7 months ago

Aiken: 'Buck has to stop' with Obama on VA

(CNN) – American Idol star turned congressional nominee Clay Aiken called the Department of Veterans Affairs "unwieldy," and said President Barack Obama is ultimately responsible for holding the VA accountable.

Asked by CNN's Brooke Baldwin on Wednesday whether the President should take a more hands-on approach to dealing the growing controversy, Aiken said, "I certainly think the President is responsible for it at the end of the day."

"He is the commander in chief of the military. He is the executive, so the buck has to stop with him," he said.

Aiken's comments come on the heels of Obama's first public statement Wednesday on the flare up over fraudulent record-keeping that covered up excessive and sometimes deadly waiting times for veterans at some VA facilities.

Obama: Shinseki stays for now, but VA misconduct will be punished

Aiken noted that his brother is a veteran and acknowledged the large military population in his North Carolina district.

"I think people should all be very frustrated with the disorganization, to put it lightly, of the VA. The VA is an unwieldy organization, and I think that some of the mismanagement it's had over the past several years has started showing itself," he said.

The number of VA facilities under investigation has expanded to 26, the agency's Office of Inspector General said Tuesday. Aiken said he wouldn't be surprised if the issues were even more wide-spread.

Aiken's rise to Democratic nominee, challenging two-term Rep. Renee Ellmers in North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District, has been anything but conventional.

Last week, Aiken's primary opponent died on that same day he was expected to concede the race. Aiken told CNN he was speechless when he heard the news. His campaign temporarily suspended activities.

Looking forward to November, Aiken is maintaining his optimism against long odds in a heavily Republican district, insisting that his constituents aren't focused on politics.

Despite his star power, the 2003 "American Idol" runner-up will face an uphill battle in the reliably conservative district, which is located in the central part of the state, against Ellmers.

Related: GOP establishment 1, tea party 0 after North Carolina Senate primary

Complete coverage of the 2014 midterm elections


Filed under: 2014 • North Carolina • President Obama • Renee Ellmers • Veterans Affairs
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    It's time to rebuild the VA !

    It's time !

    The buck can no longer be passed , why do refuges receive better medical care then our Vets ?

    May 21, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. CryBabies

    You lefties could take a few lessons from Clay Aiken. Atta Boy!

    May 21, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. just asking

    Aiken: 'Buck has to stop' with Obama on VA
    ---

    does this guy know he is a democrat?!! the buck never, ever ,never ever stops with obama. ohhh, wait a minute, I get it!! he's trying the old, i'm not a democrat ploy! the i'm an independent demorcat, not an obamadroid trick! oh you sneaky little devil you!

    May 21, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. Tom

    suprised he did not sing about it

    May 21, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    So basically:

    Aiken – "Obama is ultimately responsible for making sure people are accountable for this."

    CNN headline: "Aiken said Obama is responsible for this."

    See the difference? Knew you would.

    May 21, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. Chris-E...al

    Clay kinda jumping the fence ? Many dems will be jumping the fence this this election cycle trying to come back toward the middle . It has already started just trying to distance their self from 0bama an the policies they supported and now regret them actions americans will see right thru the smoke ! And wont 4get the harm they have festered up in our land any longer .

    May 21, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "Honestly, why won't the Republicans investigate a real scandal, like the VA?"

    They will. They just need time first to get a constant stream of talking points and accusations running that they feed to CNN and the rest of the MSM to build a narrative-out-of-nothing that Obama is the only one to blame and perhaps even ordered these secret lists to be kept, etc. Only then will they investigate...and it won't be about "what's wrong with the system and how do we fix it?" It will be about "we know before investigating that it's all Obama's fault and how do we prove it?"

    May 21, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    This guy's a ringer. He's a conservative who snuck onto the Democratic ticket.

    May 21, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Obama's "punishment" has traditionally been a transfer to some other government job, with full and benefits, just out of the public eye.

    That's easy to do, when you have soooooo many people on the government payroll.

    May 21, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. PaulCat

    If you want to win an election – you must first hate Obama !!!!!!!!!!!!
    sooooo, you got the memo

    May 21, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. NC

    Aiken doesn't stand a chance to win. Bashing the President is his only way to win a few racist votes. He needs to run as a republican. In 2 years my dog is running for congress.

    May 21, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. 2_indy1600

    Frankly, a democrat with a BA in Special Ed would probably do both parties some good.

    May 21, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. Steve, New York City

    This VA debacle is a disgrace.
    Vets should receive quality medical care, they should not die waiting for treatment.

    May 21, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "There's an old saying when describing the Democrats....

    What's the difference between a liberal and a puppy? A puppy grows up and stops whining."

    Har har har!!! That's a good one!!! I'll hang it up on my wall right next to my War on Christmas poster signed by Bill O'Reilly. Psssst: your derp is showing.

    May 21, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. truth hurts but reailty bites

    American Idol star turned congressional nominee Clay Aiken called the Department of Veterans Affairs "unwieldy," and said President Barack Obama is ultimately responsible for holding the VA accountable.
    --

    I believe the offical term for this is "throwing Obama under the bus". It is clear this will be a very common theme this election season. Are they going to run on all of their accomplishments? Our abundant jobs, oops, never mind, amke that our growing economy, oops. never mind, the doctors we can't have anymore, oops, never mind.

    Yes, the smoke and mirrors will be out in full force thenext few months. It will be just like Obama hasn't been President for nearly 6 years and Democrats haven't been in control of Congress for most of the last 8 years. Yes, I suspect it will sound a lot like George Bush is still in the White House. God, how i wish that were true.

    May 21, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. Claude

    I'm certain that Obama will fire, or cause to be fired, anyone who is responsible for the VA scandal. But it may take some time to determine who all of them are. That's just realistic.

    May 21, 2014 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. smith

    Wrong Clay, the buck stops with Shinseki. However, this problem is decades old and there is no quick fix.

    May 21, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  18. Thomas

    @CryBabies
    You lefties could take a few lessons from Clay Aiken. Atta Boy!
    ==========

    Your earlier suggestion to bring Donald Rumsfeld back to transform the VA was such a great idea !

    May 21, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. Dumbas[R]ocks

    Aiken wouldn't know where the buck stopped, if it stopped over his head and took a dump.

    May 21, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Dead Bear

    I'm so glad the VA being a mess is news to most Republicans in Washington, seeing as they are laying total blame for the situation at Obama's doorstep. Too bad the rest of us who actually know some military veterans have been aware of all this for years. I understand how most of you were completely taken by surprise considering most Republican politicians are too gutless to join the military... Seems to me that mismanagement of the VA has spanned quite a few decades and more than a few Republican administrations. But, hey! All our country's problems started in 2009, right GOP?

    May 21, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. bassman

    In 2009 Sarah Palin wrote: "Government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course.” She was mocked at the time for coining the term "death panels". The incompetence at the VA shows just how right Palin was.

    May 21, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  22. Gurgyl

    This guy is an idiot. Did Obama tell VA to deny? Nonsense. Kick this guys butts off.

    May 21, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "All our country's problems started in 2009, right GOP?"

    There's only one real "problem" that began in 2009 as far as the GOP/Teatrolls are concerned, and we all know what that is.

    May 21, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  24. 2_indy1600

    These particular problems have been going on for decades, but Bill Clinton appointed Shinseki to an army post years and years ago.

    May 21, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. Democrat Couch Potato

    He knows he doesn't have any hope of winning the election so he might as well tell the truth. Some people may fall for it.

    May 21, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
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