In discussing President Obama's Wednesday press conference on the Veterans Administration wait-list scandal, CNN's Drew Griffin, identified by the network's Jake Tapper as "the reporter who began this whole story with his investigation into the Phoenix VA," appeared to barely contain himself as he described the "disconnect between what's happening out here in the country and what the president is talking about."
Specifically, Griffin asserted that "this problem is real; it exists; it really doesn't have to be studied," and that "the vets I've been talking to wanted much more direct action." Griffin clearly expected a far more substantive and immediate response from Obama yesterday, and was disappointed that it didn't come. The video segment (via the Washington Free Beacon), a transcript, and Rush Limbaugh's insightful reaction follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
JAKE TAPPER: Drew Griffin, the reporter from CNN who began this whole story with his investigation into the Phoenix VA. Drew, the soldiers, the veterans that you speak with, what did they want to hear from President Obama today and didn't deliver?
DREW GRIFFIN: Well I tell you what they did not want to hear is "We're going to wait for yet again another Office of Inspector General's report" or some fact-finding mission.
I was a little caught off guard by what apparently is a disconnect by what's happening out here in the country and what the president is talking about.
I hate to be curt but, these GAO reports, these Office of Inspector General reports, these memos dating back to 2010 and back to 2008, this problem is real; it exists; it really doesn't have to be studied as to what's going on. The government had done its job studying these issues.
And to say that you are gonna now wait for yet again more studies to come back and more fact-finding to come back — I would think that the vets I've been talking to wanted much more direct action of what actually is going to happen going forward, instead of wait and see and we'll decide what's going to happen going forward.
I was a little confused by the president's remarks today. At the same time he was saying that he's known about this problem for years and years and years and it goes back decades, far past into other people's presidencies, and yet we're five years into his presidency and the problem seems to be certainly not better, and perhaps even worse.
In a separate article, the Free Beacon's David Rutz further noted that Obama's response "was widely panned by politicians and commentators," and that "It received bipartisan condemnation."
Rush Limbaugh saw Griffin's reaction as a moment when a mainstream media reporter got hit in the face by cold, hard reality:
... Well, we don't know if this guy will have a job tomorrow, but nevertheless this is the eye-opening education of a Drive-By reporter. This is the guy who broke the scandal in Phoenix. This is the guy who found one of the original whistleblowers and he was stunned and here today. "What do you mean we're gonna investigate? We don't need to investigate. We know exactly what happened." He could not believe what he was hearing.
... you see, the audience for this press conference was not the veterans. The audience for this press conference is not the media. The audience here is the low-information population. All they're supposed to see and all they are supposed to take away from this is that Obama cares and he's really mad and he's gonna get to the bottom of it like he's gotten to the bottom of everything else.
He's gonna drop everything and get to the bottom of this and he's gonna fix it! But first he's gotta do the fair and equitable thing. He's got to investigate and find out if it's really true, and anybody should understand the equality and fairness of that. So he's gonna do that, then he's gonna fix it. That's the takeaway. This is not for you and me today. This is not for people that know what's going on.
This is for people that don't know what's going on, who are watching perhaps for the first time because the president is talking about it for the first time. They say, "Oh, wow! This must be big." So the low-information crowd tunes in and all they see is he's really mad about it. "Okay, good. Good! Somebody ought to be mad about this. Wow! Okay, he's gonna fix it just like he fixes everything else." Even this CNN reporter says he's known about this problem for years and years, it goes back to prior presidencies, but the problem seems to even be worse during his presidency.
This guy can't believe what he saw.
We're five years in, almost six years in, and finally a Drive-By reporter gets it. It won't last long 'til they get his mind right but at least he got it, saw it, and reported on it.
The press conference wasn't about keeping more veterans from dying because of manipulated waiting lists. It was only about appearing concerned about the fact that veterans are dying, while continuing to take no substantive action.
At least on CNN, yesterday was a rare day during which the press, which has mostly supported and even cheered Obama's posturing for over five years, got fed up. Just look at the expressions on the faces of those who were on Tapper's panel.
One suspects that today, it will be back to business as usual.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.