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Obama on VA scandal: 'I will not tolerate it'

Alex Wong / Getty Images News

President Barack Obama on Wednesday vowed to get to the bottom of ongoing scheduling controversies at Veterans Affairs hospitals around the country.

"If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it," Obama said. "Period."

Prior to speaking to the press, Obama met with VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and discussed the controversy. Obama reportedly told Shinseki that anyone involved with the ongoing problems must be held accountable.

The scandal came about after CNN reported that 40 veterans in Phoenix, Arizona, died allegedly as a result of a secret wait list that stalled their doctor appointments.

Republicans quickly pounced on the controversy and used it to criticize the Obama administration. Other critics, including the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), said the scandal was enabled by years of shoddy scheduling practices and poor federal oversight. The GAO, for its part, warned the VA of the problems in previous reports, but the VA has been slow to make changes.

The VA is conducting its own investigation into the issue. The White House, meanwhile, is sending Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors to Phoenix to hear and oversee concerns.