The Buzz

Gen. Dempsey wants heads to roll for VA scandal

Good morning.

“It is outrageous, if the allegations actually are documented and proven — and I suspect some of them will be. They've got to be held accountable.” — Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the VA scandal that concerns alleged deception about the waiting time for treatment at veterans hospitals.

Strikingly bold words from Dempsey. Typically the chair of the Joint Chiefs is far more circumspect, which says something about the level of frustration here. Dempsey also said the VA Secretary Eric Shinseki should share some of the blame, though he stopped short of calling for his resignation.

“Old and stale.” — GOP strategist Karl Rove describing Hillary Clinton.

Rove was talking about the biggest challenge to Clinton’s potential presidential candidacy is a sense that she is inevitable. Rove said some see here as “the third term of Barack Obama...and a third term for Bill Clinton.” Rove’s remarks about Hillary Clinton’s mental facilities a few weeks ago were way off-base. These remarks have a ring of truth to them. Voters do value the new over the old. Clinton is lots of things, but she’s not new.

“I will vote for it.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill saying she’ll back the three-quarters cent sales tax for transportation that lawmakers put on the ballot this August. (link via

Jason Rosenbaum of St. Louis Public Radio points out that McCaskill and Gov. Jay Nixon, the state’s two top Democrats, appear to be on opposite sides of the fence on the tax proposal. Nixon is withholding comment. Last year, McCaskill criticized Republicans in the General Assembly for not putting a transportation proposal before voters.

“One thing that has never been a hard choice for me is serving our country. It has been the greatest honor of my life.” — Hillary Clinton in the author’s note to her forthcoming memoir about her years as secretary of state.

Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post writes this in response: “How do you write this line — and read it in the audiobook — without having essentially decided to run for president? It's literally impossible to imagine that Clinton wouldn't be aware of how these two sentences would play.” That sounds about right.