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Washington (AFP) – President Barack Obama will speak at 10:45 am Wednesday after a meeting on a scandal over delays in medical treatment at U.S. military veterans’ hospitals, the White House said.

Obama was to meet beforehand with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki over the mounting controversy at the hospital system run by his department.

Veterans have had to wait months to see a doctor at some hospitals, and allegations have arisen that administrators at a VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, covered up the delays there.

As many as 40 patients were reported to have died while waiting to be seen by a VA doctor.

Republicans have called for Shinseki, a retired general and Vietnam War veteran, to resign.

Obama has assigned a close aide, Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors, to investigate. Nabors was to attend Obama’s meeting with Shinseki, who has held the VA post since 2009.

AFP Photo/Saul Loeb

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Sen. Joe Manchin

Photo by Third Way is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The 2010 Senate candidate was almost a caricature of the sort of Republican who drives Democrats crazy. He bragged about his endorsement by the National Rifle Association, criticized "Obamacare" and dramatized his support for coal by picking up a rifle and blasting away at a bill aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

But the guy who turned those themes into a victory was not a Republican. He was a Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia. And he's somehow proven to be both the indispensable senator for President Joe Biden and a villain to many in his party.

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