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Chris Matthews slams Obama on VA as too focused on the ‘P.R. of himself’

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MSNBC's Chris Matthews — who famously picked up the mocking nickname of "Tingles" for his adoring references to then-campaigner Barack Obama's speaking skills — took the unusual step of criticizing the president this week, calling out his handing of the VA scandal and suggesting stronger action was warranted.

During a "Hardball" segment that included Sen. Sherrod Brown and former Sen. Bob Kerrey on the panel, Mr. Matthews argued that the president wasn't so much concerned with the fact that veterans had been placed on a secret waiting list for health care, but rather with his own image, Breitbart reported.

Mr. Matthews did so by making comparisons with the sex abuse scandals that rock the Catholic Church.

"Let me offer an idea — either one of you guys are Catholics. 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," Mr. Matthews said, Breitbart reported. "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."

Mr. Matthews then cut to the quick: "That's the person the president should be thinking about, not the P.R. 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 ... the bargain."

The fact that "these people aren't even being looked at [is] frightening," Mr. Matthews said.

But Mr. Matthews wasn't finished just yet. He also criticized Mr. Obama's requests for more reports and for more inquiries.

"You got an IG report yesterday that said that it's systemic," Mr. Matthews said, Breitbart reported. "[Obama] said if it's systemic, I'm doing something. What's he doing? He wants to hear from Rob Naboris, 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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