CEO says no to VA post

A top contender considered by the Obama administration to serve as Veterans Affairs secretary has withdrawn his name.

Toby Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland on Saturday that he pulled out because of prior commitments to his hospital. 

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"As a physician, veteran, and hospital chief executive, I have great respect for the care provided to the Veteran community and for those who work to care for them," he said in a statement. "This has been an extraordinarily difficult decision, but I have decided to withdraw from consideration from this position and remain at the Cleveland Clinic, due to the commitment I have made to the organization, our patients and the work that still needs to be done here." 

Cosgrove was also a potential political liability for the administration after he was quoted last month criticizing the Affordable Care Act.

This is the second time this week a VA contender has withdrawn.

On Friday, Obama's top nominee for undersecretary of health at the agency, Jeffrey Murawsky, withdrew his name because he feared his confirmation could spiral into a long political fight.

Murawsky oversaw a VA hospital that has been linked to the scandal caused by officials using secret lists to hide long waits for appointments.

Cosgrove was being considered to replace Eric Shinseki, who stepped down last month due to the political firestorm.