The White House disengaged from controversies?

Charles Krauthammer on how the Obama administration is handling the VA scandal


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," May 21, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "Back of the Book" segment tonight, let's get right to our pal Charles Krauthammer who joins us from Washington. All right, Charles, on last night, I said the Obama administration appears disengaged from very troubling problems in the country. Am I wrong?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: No. This is a reflection of the president. The style of the White House administration always comes from the leader. I mean, cool will get you elected. Cool will get you profiles from upscale New York magazines, but cool will not connect you with the American people when there are allegations that wounded warriors are dying of neglect and corruption. And cool will not get you any management skills in running the U.S. government. Remember, this is a man who came to office. Never having run so much as a candy store. He has got all these departments under him. And in every single one he professes utter ignorance as to the incompetence and corruption under his nose, stuff he reads apparently in the newspapers like any ordinary citizen. He is simply acting as if he is too good, too smart. I think it was Valerie Jarrett who said that he is bored with the presidency. I guess this is too easy for him. He needs to find a tougher job.

O'REILLY: Well, here's the question. Does he really not know? And is his staff that incompetent that they don't bring him every morning a summation of problem areas that need to be dealt with? Is that possible?

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, this is a problem that he ran on in 2008. The idea that he would pretend he read about it in the papers now is preposterous. We have video of him in 2008 blaming it on the Bush administration, then saying I'm going to fix it, then saying like any good liberal does, I'm going to throw a ton of money at this and that will fix it, then in 2009 saying he'll fix it and in fact, just today saying that we really worked hard on this problem. Give me a scintilla of evidence that this administration has worked hard on the problem of waiting lists and cooked books.

O'REILLY: Is there -- that doesn't exist because if there were evidence, if there was evidence to that, they would have presented it already, they would have said we did this, we did that, just like Rove did when I challenged him about what President Bush did, Rove had a long laundry list of things that President Bush did do, and the Obama administration doesn't really have anything. Now, the question of replacing incompetent administrators. Sebelius still sitting on her butt there. She's not out yet. Now she's out, but she's still there and now Shinseki, I mean, oversees the investigation into a situation that he let happen? I mean, this is like the twilight zone.

KRAUTHAMMER: I think what it is, it's an epidemic of incompetence and neglect because precisely because as every one of these other scandals has unfolded, the administration mouths words about accountability, talks about responsibility, some people like the secretary of state, even the president, say the buck stops here, but the buck stops nowhere, because no one pays, no one is fired, no one is demoted. The only person who got hurt in the Benghazi affair hurt in terms of his career, was the guy in Tripoli, Hicks, the number --

O'REILLY: He blew the whistle.

KRAUTHAMMER: The man who blew the whistle. The man who in some distress, the man who essentially heard his colleague dying at the other end of the phone essentially, he got demoted because he said the truth. And that's what happens, once that happens in the administration, it becomes epidemic and no one is responsible for anything so why should anybody stick their neck out?

O'REILLY: All right, Charles, as always, thank you.

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