O'Reilly, Rove Lock Horns Over Blame for VA Mess

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 10:13 PM

By Greg Richter

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Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly and Republican Party operative Karl Rove agree that veterans are being mistreated as they endure long waits for medical treatment, but the two clashed Wednesday over who's to blame.

O'Reilly blasted President Barack Obama's handling of the growing scandal, in which some veterans were placed on secret waiting lists to mask the real time it was taking for them to be seen by doctors at Veterans Administration hospitals.

But he told Rove that President George W. Bush wasn't blameless because wait times were also bad during his presidency.

Rove served in Bush's White House and was quick to tell O'Reilly that even Bush inherited the problem, which he said has been an ongoing issue for two or three decades.

Bush increased funding and cut the wait time for determining eligiblity in half as well as making other improvements, Rove argued.

O'Reilly cut in, telling him, "I want you to step out of your partisan shoes for a moment."

O'Reilly then quoted from a report given to the Obama transition team that said long waiting times were "systemic."

Rove said the report wasn't issued by the VA, but O'Reilly was having none of it.

"Mr. Rove, you're wrong," O'Reilly said.

"Let me finish, Bill," Rove replied.

"Nope. Let me quote so the audience knows," O'Reilly insisted.

In the end, Rove said the "VA officials" quoted in the report by CBS News were not current VA officials but former officials serving on a panel created by Obama's transition team.

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