Washington (CNN) - Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is gone, but the VA scandal isn't going anywhere.
The big political question now is whether the controversy will continue to have an impact on this year's midterm elections as it has the past few weeks.
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"Secretary Shinseki offered me his own resignation. With considerable regret, I accepted it," President Barack Obama said Friday.
The announcement came one day after a bunch of high profile lawmakers from Obama's own party broke with the White House over Shinseki.
Many of the Democrats who called for him to step down face difficult re-elections in November.
Minutes after Obama delivered the news, Republicans made it clear that Shinseki's departure doesn't bring an end to this controversy, and shifted their attention from the outgoing VA secretary to the President.
"His resignation, though, does not absolve the President of his responsibility to step in and make things right for our veterans,” said House Speaker John Boehner. "Business as usual cannot continue."
"The President campaigned in 2008 and 2012 on the promise of improving care for our veterans, but it is now obvious that his stewardship of the VA has been a failure," said Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Obama's GOP opponent in the 2008 election and himself an esteemed veteran.
"New leadership at the VA is just the first step in what must be a significant, sustained effort by President Obama to fix its systemic problems," McCain said.
Republicans have been framing this year's midterm elections as a referendum on Obama and his policies. CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley said the GOP pivot to the President on the VA controversy accentuates the Republican playbook.
"Politically, the VA horror story now becomes another verse in the Republican refrain about the President's leadership style - that the President is disengaged, doesn't know what's going on in his administration, and leads from behind," said Crowley, anchor of CNN's "State of Union."
Story first reported by CNN makes political impact
The Veterans Affairs controversy has mushroomed since CNN first reported last November on allegations of alarming shortcomings within the VA medical care system that potentially have had deadly consequences in dozens of cases.
The most disturbing and striking problems emerged in Arizona last month, with sources revealing to CNN details of a secret waiting list for treatment. According to the sources, at least 40 veterans died while waiting for care at Phoenix, Arizona, VA medical center.
Over the past couple of weeks, Shinseki has been under pressure from many Republican lawmakers and candidates. And Democratic Senate candidates in three red states - Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky, Michelle Nunn of Georgia, and Natalie Tennant of West Virginia - recently joined the chorus.
But Democratic incumbents held out until Thursday, one day after a preliminary report from the VA's inspector general’s office noted systemic problems and said at least 1,700 veterans waiting to see a doctor in Phoenix were never scheduled for an appointment and were never placed on a waiting list.
The scandal comes with Democrats trying to hold onto their 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party). The party is defending 21 of the 36 seats up in November, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states.
The smaller midterm electorate traditionally tends to favor the GOP. Adding to that a sluggish economy, Obama’s low approval ratings, continued strong conservative opposition to Obamacare, and the so-called "six-year-itch," which traditionally plagues the party controlling the White House during a president's second term.
So the last thing Democrats running for their political lives need is another controversy.
Will the issue last on the trail?
"The resignation doesn't solve the issue. The issue is the problems plaguing the VA," said Democratic strategist Bill Burton, a top adviser on the 2008 Obama presidential campaign and in the White House who co-steered the leading pro-Obama outside group, Priorities USA, during the 2012 campaign.
The "news cycle moves so fast in Washington that media will be on to something else in a few weeks. This is unlikely to be part of the issues landscape in November," Burton said.
But Republican strategist Kevin Madden thinks the damage has already been done.
"This isn't a personnel issue, so making a personnel change at the VA won't necessarily solve the problem. This is a competence crisis for President Obama. Increasingly, President Obama's incompetence and his failure of leadership on issues like the VA scandal and the Obamacare debacle will be front and center in voters' minds from here through November 2014," said Madden, a CNN contributor who was a top adviser in Mitt Romney's 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.
The Veterans Affairs scandal has been a major issue on the campaign trail the past couple of weeks. Wednesday it also became front and center in the campaign ad wars.
As first reported by CNN, Crossroads GPS, the non-profit sister organization to American Crossroads, a leading pro-GOP outside group co-founded and steered by Karl Rove, went up with a television commercial in Alaska that was critical of Sen. Mark Begich’s reaction to the growing controversy. Begich is considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic senators running for re-election this year
The same day, the VA scandal also appeared in a new online ad attacking another vulnerable Democrat, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas. The spot by Rep. Tom Cotton, the GOP challenger in the race, hits Pryor for what it says is his inaction in dealing with the controversy.
Neither Begich nor Pryor called for Shinseki's resignation before Obama's announcement.
Friday, minutes after Obama said the VA secretary was stepping down, Cotton, who trails Pryor in the polls, quickly put out a statement.
“I'm disappointed that, as usual, Senator Pryor stuck with President Obama until the very end, but even the President realized Secretary Shinseki needed to resign. Our veterans and all Arkansans need a senator who will lead, not one who will defer to Barack Obama," Cotton said.
Expect to hear similar language on the campaign trail the next couple of days. But will it last?
CNN's Crowley says the scandal will "continue to play out on the campaign trail though not at the defcon levels it has been."