President Barack Obama will meet with Veterans Administration secretary Eric Shinseki at 10:15 a.m. today, in what may be the final meeting in their professional relationship.
At least 11 Democratic Senators and three major Democratic Senate candidates have urged Shinseki to resign, following the release of an Inspector General report this week that showed systemic problems — including hidden waiting lists and extended delays for more than 1,700 vets at one VA center.
The scandal is very bad for Obama, who needs every vote he can scare up in the November election. His polls are already stuck in the low-to-mid 40s.
If Obama fires Shinseki this weekend, he may be able to escape much — but not all — of the blame for the scandal.
But Obama likely can’t repeat the tactic he used with Kathleen Sebelius, who announced her resignation in April, following the disastrous Obamacare rollout last October. Her exit was partly hidden by relatively good news once the Obamacare website was fixed. That drawn-out process allowed Obama to escape much of the blame for the failed development program.
But there’s little chance that the VA’s problems can be cleared up in the next five months before the November election.