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Pictures | Thu Jul 26, 2012 | 11:50am EDT

Special Report: Obama's struggle to mend veterans' safety net

U.S. President Barack Obama autographs a banner while visiting a wounded service member at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in this June 28, 2012 photograph obtained on July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Pete Souza/Handout

U.S. President Barack Obama autographs a banner while visiting a wounded service member at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in this June 28, 2012 photograph obtained on July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Pete Souza/Handout

U.S. President Barack Obama autographs a banner while visiting a wounded service member at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in this June 28, 2012 photograph obtained on July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Pete Souza/Handout
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U.S. President Barack Obama (L) arrives to visit wounded military personnel at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in this June 28, 2012 file photograph. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/Files

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) arrives to visit wounded military personnel at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in this June 28, 2012 file photograph. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/Files

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) arrives to visit wounded military personnel at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in this June 28, 2012 file photograph. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/Files
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U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary, retired general Eric Shinseki (C) talks with veterans during a visit to the Coatesville VA Medical center in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, in this April 12, 2012 photograph. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer

U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary, retired general Eric Shinseki (C) talks with veterans during a visit to the Coatesville VA Medical center in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, in this April 12, 2012 photograph. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer

U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary, retired general Eric Shinseki (C) talks with veterans during a visit to the Coatesville VA Medical center in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, in this April 12, 2012 photograph. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer
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U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary, retired general Eric Shinseki (C) talks with veterans during a visit to the Coatesville VA Medical center in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, April 12, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer

U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary, retired general Eric Shinseki (C) talks with veterans during a visit to the Coatesville VA Medical center in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, April 12, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer

U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary, retired general Eric Shinseki (C) talks with veterans during a visit to the Coatesville VA Medical center in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, April 12, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer
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U.S. President Barack Obama walks into a hospital room at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in this October 11, 2011 photograph obtained on July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Pete Souza/Handout

U.S. President Barack Obama walks into a hospital room at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in this October 11, 2011 photograph obtained on July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Pete Souza/Handout

U.S. President Barack Obama walks into a hospital room at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in this October 11, 2011 photograph obtained on July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Pete Souza/Handout
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Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney delivers remarks about the shooting in Colorado during what was supposed to be a campaign event at Coastal Forest Products in Bow, New Hampshire in this July 20, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi/Files

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney delivers remarks about the shooting in Colorado during what was supposed to be a campaign event at Coastal Forest Products in Bow, New Hampshire in this July 20, 2012...more

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney delivers remarks about the shooting in Colorado during what was supposed to be a campaign event at Coastal Forest Products in Bow, New Hampshire in this July 20, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi/Files
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Twenty-three year old U.S. Army veteran Nick Tivas, who served in Iraq, is seen with various paperwork from the Veterans Administration and a collection agency at his home in Millersville, Maryland July 24, 2012. A collection agency has come after the former infantryman and he's started to look for work because he thinks he'll have to drop out of community college after a dispute with the Veteran's Administration over benefits he earned for his education. He's also waited nearly a year to hear from the VA about a disability claim for a non-combat knee injury. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Twenty-three year old U.S. Army veteran Nick Tivas, who served in Iraq, is seen with various paperwork from the Veterans Administration and a collection agency at his home in Millersville, Maryland July 24, 2012. A collection agency has come after...more

Twenty-three year old U.S. Army veteran Nick Tivas, who served in Iraq, is seen with various paperwork from the Veterans Administration and a collection agency at his home in Millersville, Maryland July 24, 2012. A collection agency has come after the former infantryman and he's started to look for work because he thinks he'll have to drop out of community college after a dispute with the Veteran's Administration over benefits he earned for his education. He's also waited nearly a year to hear from the VA about a disability claim for a non-combat knee injury. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
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Twenty-three year old U.S. Army veteran Nick Tivas, who served in Iraq, works on a car he is attempting to sell at his home in Millersville, Maryland July 24, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Twenty-three year old U.S. Army veteran Nick Tivas, who served in Iraq, works on a car he is attempting to sell at his home in Millersville, Maryland July 24, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Twenty-three year old U.S. Army veteran Nick Tivas, who served in Iraq, works on a car he is attempting to sell at his home in Millersville, Maryland July 24, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
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Twenty-three year old U.S. Army veteran Nick Tivas, who served in Iraq, is seen with his framed commendations, (L), honorable discharge, and unit beret (R) at his home in Millersville, Maryland July 24, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Twenty-three year old U.S. Army veteran Nick Tivas, who served in Iraq, is seen with his framed commendations, (L), honorable discharge, and unit beret (R) at his home in Millersville, Maryland July 24, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

Twenty-three year old U.S. Army veteran Nick Tivas, who served in Iraq, is seen with his framed commendations, (L), honorable discharge, and unit beret (R) at his home in Millersville, Maryland July 24, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
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