“Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?” the ad asks.
During the 2008 campaign, the video notes, Romney criticized Obama for promising to consider drone strikes in Pakistan and said of bin Laden: “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars, just trying to catch one person.”
The new message, seeking to exploit Obama’s national security credentials, came as the president addressed thousands of uniformed members of the Army’s Third Infantry Division.
Obama also signed an executive order cracking down on for-profit colleges that prey on service members. At the same time, Romney met with students in Ohio to discuss college debt and warn that the United States is “on track to becoming Greece” — the latest sign that the general election is kicking off with a focus on the concerns of young voters.
The measure Obama signed is aimed at preventing schools from collecting tuition dollars from veterans without providing meaningful education in return.
Joined by first lady Michelle Obama, Obama told some 10,300 soldiers that for-profit schools swindle veterans, harassing them with repeated phone calls and e-mails and promising them job placement without delivering.
He told of one college recruiter who visited a barracks at Camp Lejeune and signed up troops suffering from brain injuries.
“That’s appalling. That’s disgraceful. That should never happen in America,” he said.
The executive order, he said, will “make life a whole lot more secure for you and your families and our veterans and a whole lot tougher for those who try to prey on you.”
The order directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to trademark the term “GI Bill,” to make it easier for the government to crack down on for-profit groups that deceptively use the term to enroll veterans.
It will also require the 6,000 colleges that participate in the GI Bill to provide veterans a “Know Before You Owe” document that more transparently explains how much debt they will take on to complete their degree. It will make it easier for service members to register complaints and for implicated institutions to be kept off of military installations.
The Washington Post Co. operates for-profit schools through its Kaplan subsidiary.
Obama’s action was praised by veterans groups, although the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities called it “deeply unfortunate,” saying that it was already in talks with veterans organizations and lawmakers about the concerns.
Hours after Obama signed the executive order, Romney addressed a crowd of several hundred students and faculty members at Otterbein University, a small liberal arts college northeast of Columbus, Ohio. He delivered a 40-minute speech, flanked by about 50 students who listened respectfully — if not with overwhelming enthusiasm.