Obama signs executive order to improve veterans' mental healthcare

The veterans-focused executive order comes as Obama is visiting Fort Bliss on the two-year anniversary of his announcement at the same location that ended combat operations in Iraq.

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“The visit will focus on, I think, that important anniversary,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday. “It will also focus on the fact that the president has always said that part of ending the war in Iraq responsibly is standing by those who served.”

The presidential campaigns of Obama and Mitt Romney have both made a concerted effort to reach out to veterans. In a speech at the American Legion convention Wednesday — which Romney left the Republican convention on Wednesday to give — Romney criticized Obama for not doing enough to solve the problems at the VA, including long waits for mental health patients to get treatment.

“Veterans face unconscionable waits for mental health treatment,” Romney said. “The problems with the VA are serious, and must be fixed. We are in danger of another generation of veterans losing their faith in VA system. On my watch, that will not be allowed to happen.”