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story.lead_photo.caption Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki waits to speak at a meeting of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans in Washington on Friday, May 30, 2014.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned Friday in a personal meeting with President Barack Obama, shortly after publicly apologizing for deep problems plaguing the agency's health care system that Obama called "totally unacceptable."

Obama said he accepted the retired four-star general's resignation "with considerable regret" during an Oval Office meeting. Shinseki had been facing mounting calls to step down from lawmakers in both parties since a scathing internal report out Wednesday found broad and deep-seated problems in the sprawling health care system, which provides medical care to about 6.5 million veterans annually.

Obama said Shinseki had served with honor, but the secretary told him the agency needs new leadership and he doesn't want to be a distraction. "I agree. We don't have time for distractions. We need to fix the problem," Obama said.

The president named Sloan D. Gibson, currently the deputy VA secretary, to run the department on an interim basis while he searches for another secretary. The president said he met with Gibson after accepting the resignation from Shinseki, who has overseen the VA since the start of Obama's presidency.

A career banker, Gibson has held the No. 2 post at the department since February of this year. He came to the department after serving as president and chief executive officer of the USO, a nonprofit organization that provides programs and services to U.S. troops and their families, and after a 20-year career in banking.

Gibson is the son of an Army Air Corpsman who served in World War II and grandson of a World War I Army Infantryman.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments

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  • AmericasDoomed
    May 30, 2014 at 8:59 a.m.

    That must mean Shinseki is getting a promotion.

  • 3rdWorldState
    May 30, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.

    Yeah, that's what it means.

  • Dondi
    May 30, 2014 at 11:45 a.m.

    I recommend John McCain for the job, or Lindsey Graham they both seems to know every thing. They could hire enough doctors to fill all the appointments at the VA hospitals.

  • paladin123p06130833
    May 30, 2014 at 11:55 a.m.

    It's shame. . . he was one of few generals who was honest. I retired after 22 years, at my separation physical they found a problem with my vision. Two years later, I started to lose my sight in the right eye. I called the VA at 11AM, that afternoon I was in the hospital, the next morning at 0500 I was in surgery. I just scheduled my annual physical yesterday, its on June 13. The staff is overworked, but still incredibly professional, friendly, and helpful.

  • PM1118
    May 30, 2014 at 11:57 a.m.

    We hire a 4 star general and now a banker to run an enormous clinic/hospital? Might you try an experienced hospital administrator? Could get the job done!

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    May 30, 2014 at 12:02 p.m.

    Another one under the bus.

  • HOTDEMN
    May 30, 2014 at 12:30 p.m.

    "Another one under the bus" which is being driven by John Boener and is filled with 41 Republican lawmakers that just shot down a landmark bill that would have gone a long way to fix problems at the VA. ( S.1982 )
    Once again the Kangaroo Court of the Congress drops the ball and goes on a blame hunt.

  • Oldearkie
    May 30, 2014 at 12:41 p.m.

    The new leader MUST be a veteran and not necessarily a commissioned officer.

  • carpenterretired
    May 30, 2014 at 1:51 p.m.

    Bush,Boozman and the G.O.P. added two million veterans to the V.A. system with their adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan yet in February Boozman voted against increased spending for the V.A..

  • Populist
    May 30, 2014 at 2:37 p.m.

    I agree. This job is more appropriate for somebody with more hospital managerial experience. You have to understand how many doctors and nurses and how much equipment is necessary to care for our veterans. Both parties have treated this job as a political plum.

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