Bush Tours Walter Reed Hospital, and Apologizes

President Bush went to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C., Friday, his first trip there since revelations six weeks ago about deplorable living conditions for wounded soldiers in the facility's outpatient housing.

Substandard conditions and policies at the hospital brought resignations after they were exposed in news reports. The president used the occasion to apologize to veterans for what they endured during their recovery, and to vow that the problems will be fixed.

"We're not going to be satisfied until everybody gets the kind of care that their folks and families expect," the president said.

Still, President Bush came under criticism today.

Some wondered why he waited so long after the news broke to visit Walter Reed personally. And they asked why he didn't take a first-hand look at repairs being done at one of Building 18, which soldiers he met told him was particularly troubled.

Democrats said the problems at the Army medical center are part of a larger picture — that of an administration that has cut funding for veterans programs and which didn't adequately plan for the war and its long-term effects.

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