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    Training guide likens veterans to Oscar the Grouch

    PHILADELPHIA — An internal training guide used by the US Department of Veterans Affairs compared veterans unhappy about their care to Oscar the Grouch, a newspaper reported.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer obtained a VA training slide show with tips for employees on how to help veterans with their claims. It was shown to VA employees staffing events with veterans in Philadelphia.

    About a dozen slides included pictures of the grumpy ‘‘Sesame Street’’ character who lives in a trash can. The slide show said that veterans might be demanding and unrealistic and advised staffers on ‘‘what to say to Oscar the Grouch.’’

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    Veterans groups called the comparison insulting, especially after a VA scandal over veterans’ health care.

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    ‘‘There is no time or place to make light of the current crisis that the VA is in,’’ said Joe Davis, a national spokesman for the VFW, ‘‘and especially to insult the VA’s primary customer.’’

    A VA spokeswoman told the Inquirer that the agency regretted any misunderstanding.

    ‘‘The training provided was not intended to equate veterans with this character,’’ spokeswoman Marisa Prugsawan said.

    Associated Press