Hagan Criticizes Obama Ahead of North Carolina Visit

Hagan has been campaigning on the VA issue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Hagan has been campaigning on the VA issue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted August 22, 2014 at 6:21pm

Updated 6:38 p.m. | Sen. Kay Hagan doesn’t sound thrilled President Barack Obama is coming to town.  

The North Carolina Democrat, one of the most vulnerable senators , issued a terse statement about Obama’s veterans policy ahead of his planned Tuesday visit to her home state.  

The White House announced late Friday that Obama will deliver remarks at the American Legion’s 96th National Convention. The appearance gave Hagan an opportunity to criticize the president in the wake of a scandal that has captured national attention . Hagan’s office blasted her statement just 31 minutes after the White House released the schedule.  

“The Obama Administration has not yet done enough to earn the lasting trust of our veterans and implement real and permanent reforms at the VA,” Hagan said.  

She added, “I hope to hear the President address these challenges at the American Legion’s National Convention in Charlotte. I will be there to discuss some of the steps I want to see taken in Washington to uphold the commitment our government has made to North Carolina’s veterans.”  

The statement noted her role on the Armed Services Committee and that she “comes from a strong military family” with a two-star Marine general as her father-in-law, Navy veterans as her brother and father and a Vietnam veteran husband. She also has two nephews who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

It’s not uncommon for Democrats in difficult races to avoid being seen with Obama thanks to his sagging popularity ratings, and Hagan did not show up the last time the president was in her state. But Hagan is in a more unusual position given it is recess and she will attend the event.  

Earlier this year, another Democratic senator had a similar approach. Sen. Mark Pryor invited Obama to tour tornado damage in Arkansas , using the appearance to present himself as a leader challenging the president to help his constituents.  

Hagan faces Republican state house speaker Thom Tillis this fall.  

The Tillis campaign issued its own statement soon after, calling her comments “too little, too late,” and suggesting Hagan was “refusing to take any responsibility for breaking her promises to veterans, instead pointing blame at the Obama administration to distract from her own failures.”