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Obama drew Matthews’ ire for not putting more of a focus on the individuals harmed by the Veterans Administration hospital scandal. Instead, Matthews argued the president was more focused on the public relations elements of the scandal’s fallout.
“Let me offer an idea – either one of you guys are Catholics,” he said. “This is the problem in the Catholic Church. This has been the problem -- you care about the people at the top. You don't care about the people at the bottom. You don't care about the altar boys, you worry about the priests. Here the president is probably worried about Shinseki. He should worry about the patient sitting out there now, four months he hasn't heard from a doctor. That’s who he should be talking about. That’s the person the president should be thinking about, not the PR of himself or the credentials of the administrator, but the person out there who served this country and has a real problem enough to go to a doctor, but no doctor will see him, even though that was part of -- isn't it the bargain when you go into the military? You'll at least be looked at when you come home? And these people aren't even being looked at, let alone treated. It’s frightening.”
Matthews went on to add that Obama’s timing left much to be desired in addressing the public about the scandal.
“You got an IG report yesterday that said that it's systemic,” he added. “He said if it's systemic, I’m doing something. What’s he doing? He wants to hear from Rob Nabors, his staff guy. He wants to hear Shinseki’s own report. These are two more reports he wants. How much is this going to go on? We have a waiting list to hear from the president, now. What’s the waiting time to hear from Obama? Is it going to be as long as the waiting time to see a doctor?”
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“The media class is the wall that we have to climb over for our voices to be heard. Once our voices are heard, then democracy will happen.”