Christie chides Obama over VA 'disgrace'
May 30th, 2014
06:49 PM ET
3 months ago

Christie chides Obama over VA 'disgrace'

Nashville, Tennessee (CNN) - Chris Christie sharply criticized President Barack Obama’s management of the Veterans Affairs scandal on Friday, calling the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki “long overdue.”

“I wish that the President had been more aggressive since minute one to go in and fix it himself, because what’s happened there is a disgrace,” Christie said in a brief interview on Friday, hours after Shinseki met with the President and stepped down from his post.

Christie made the comments during a stop at a barbecue restaurant in Nashville, where he was campaigning with Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

The New Jersey governor, who may seek to fill Obama’s shoes in 2016, said the President has been too passive in his response to revelations of misconduct at veterans health centers around the country.

“More importantly than the resignation, he should be in rolling up his sleeves and trying to put a stop to it,” Christie said. “That’s more than just saying you’re angry and getting resignations.”

With three stops in Tennessee on Friday, Christie was making his first political foray into the south as a potential White House candidate. Earlier Friday, he campaigned in Memphis at a re-election event for Sen. Lamar Alexander. Tonight, he’ll address the Tennessee GOP’s annual Statesmen’s Dinner in downtown Nashville.

soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. Bill from GA

    Hillary Clinton: The Last Nail in the Coffin of the USA – " How can you compromise with Democrats that want to take every penny I make and give it to their lazy supporters? "

    How can you compromise with Republicans who want to take every penny you make and give it to their rich supporters, and Big Business?

    Seems to me we need compromise on both sides.

    May 31, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. allan

    Christie would've just shut down any bridges going to Shinseki's house until the guy resigned.

    May 31, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. Bill from GA

    Liz the First – " Republicans ... created all these wounded and disabled vets with never meeting a war they didn't love. "

    Repubs stop our president when they don't like what he is doing. (Almost always, that's why the economy is stalled.) Gutless Dems just go along with the idiot repubs. Democrats in the Senate could have stopped the needless invasion of Iraq. They didn't.

    May 31, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. don in albuquerque

    Tony D
    Then from your post Hillary should be okay......right?

    May 31, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Ken

    Sec Shinseki has held the position since 2009. Since then the disability backlog surfaced, the appointment scandal etc.. What's next? Shinseki is only the tip of the iceberg. The bureaucrats that have laid around in the VA collecting their check aren't going to change and nobody will get them to change! The federal government is too big, and everybody stands in a circle pointing the figure at the person on their right as the guilty person.

    May 31, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @Funkae: "Christie would have fired shins ski in about 5 minutes. No nonsense government 2016"

    LMAO! Christie can't handle a bridge scandal and he somehow could fix the VA? Yeah, right.

    May 31, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @RI_Ridgers: "Knowing of the scheduling issues going back to 2008"

    VA officials first learned of the problems in 2005, when George W. Bush was entering his second term, and the problems went unfixed for the duration of his presidency.

    May 31, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. Greg HK from NY

    The disgrace has been going on for several decades – the bucks STOP where, again ??

    May 31, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. roro

    The VA has had problems for as long as I can remember. The two wars Bush/Cheney advanced only added even more veterans to the rolls. And don't forget how many times $ was turned down by the Congress. But, alas, the whole thing is Obama's fault, of course.

    May 31, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. Etham Frome in VT

    So... The Dems try their hardest to link Christie to the bridge problem, but don't try to link Obama to the VA problem.
    ..... Which is a far greater issue.

    May 31, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Mike in Texas

    Christie needs to worry about his own shortcomings in his own state. Budget shortfalls because you gave tax breaks to the wealthy and then blamed Obama for the shortfall. Does this guy not take any personal responsibility? Doesn't seem like it.

    May 31, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. Chris-E...al

    @don why dont you put it out there where we can understand you for once ?

    May 31, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  13. Robert N. constant

    Google "Chris Christie mafia" and see what comes up. This man has graveyards in his closets, not just skeletons.

    May 31, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Tony D

    don in albuquerque
    Tony D
    Then from your post Hillary should be okay......right?
    --

    Hillary Clinton: Proven incompetence, no leadership skills, no accomplishments and a liar. We've had this for nearly 6 years with 2 more to endure with Obama. Who in their right mind would vote for even more of it in the form of Hillary Clinton?! Democrats better find somebody else to run in 2016 and fast. After Obama, Reid and Pelosi have poisoned the well, Obama V2.0 just ain't happening.

    May 31, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. jane

    Granted, on a much smaller scale, but does Christie mean how he 'aggressively went in' and got to the bottom of the closing of the GW Bridge? I'm sure he's thrilled to death that the public's attention is being diverted to more important events, even while justice is closing in on his long history of intimidation, fraud and cronyism.

    May 31, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. Tommy G

    Hey Sniffit.... can't you grasp the FACT that it is OBAMA'S job to run the VA properly, not Congress. It is a cabinet position, reporting to OBAMA. Congress has TRIPLED the funding of the VA since 2000. Yet we have corrupt VA employees committing fraud to get bonuses, while our vets are dying, waiting for treatment.

    You just cannot stand that the VA demonstrates exactly what conservatives have said all along. Big government is NOT the solution, especially when it comes to healthcare. How telling is it that Congress has to pass LAWS ALLOWING people in these bureaucracies to be fired for these types of things or non-performance? So is it the unions protecting these people? Why couldn't they be fired before? It was all just a gravy train.and they wanted their share. More of that callous, selfish leftist mentality, of take, take, take, no matter what the damage, or in this case, death.

    May 31, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. Robert N. constant

    As a former New Jersey resident and New Jersey State Employee. I will attest to the fact that this man is not to be trusted. Case in Point: Only 25% of the Super Storm Sandy Federal money has found its way to victims of the disaster.

    May 31, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. more bs

    bill from ga
    if i remember correctly, anyone who was against the war in iraq were deemed unpatriotic, traitors, and should be tried for treason. so i can understand why they would agree. look at what happened to the dixie chicks.
    personally, they should have stood their ground against the war if that is how they felt.

    May 31, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. more bs

    bill from ga
    just so you know, i am not against what you are saying, just saying we have to remember everything that went down during that time. everything that was said as far as repubs saying , anyone against the president shows division in our country and aids our enemies all over the world sought of like what they are doing now against the current president

    May 31, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. Blake

    I think Christie should be a bit more humble in his remarks, even though what he says is exactly what needs to be done now.

    The difference between this and Christie's scandal is that the VA scandal seems to be front line Administrators all over the country keeping multiple books to defraud the Gov and Veterans for monetary gain/bonuses. Telling their bosses everything is ok and the fake paperwork and "word" of said officials made it look like everything was ok to Shinseki regardless of media reports etc.

    Christie's Bridge scandal involves everyone around him including his number 1s and 2s giving orders to close the bridge... but somehow he isn't involved. Not to mention he himself ignored the warnings of the bridge scandal for almost a year and his defense is the same as Shinseki (lied to, but Shinseki's claim seems to be true since Admins at hospitals are being caught off guard)... who has now resigned.

    For these to be similar in political heat for Obama, his closest WH advisers would have had to have been caught telling Shinseki to tell VA bureaucracy to cook the books for political cover, but that isn't the case. This is a case of greed and exploitation by those with the power to do so in mid management.

    May 31, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. Marie MD

    Is that "chides" or "chives"? Anything food is more of what this bump in the road thinks about.

    May 31, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. AEJ

    The BIG Bridge Scandal Repub. can he really talk like this? This man is the most corrupted person living in the USA.
    He has no shame!!!! Look how he MASHED up New Jersey in more ways than one. Under his leadership, New jersey has earned the reputation of having the highest unemployed rate in the country (rated #48 out of 50), the state has been downgraded 6 times, and the state is the most broken state in the entire USA. Great track record BIG MAN!!!

    May 31, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. Max

    man christie is a hypocrite

    May 31, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  24. Lily

    I am sorry to say this Mr. Bridgegate man has been touting that Dems are supporting him therefore he can win the General Election. For his information, very few Dems are still behind him, majority sees him as a liability. After the bridgegate scandal, he will never ever put his foot in the White House.

    May 31, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. not really news

    While all of Christie appointee's plead the 5th and refuse to answer questions about his involvement with the bridge closer? Yeah, cheap shot about an issue that has been around forever, unlike the bridge closure.

    May 31, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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