(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.
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.