Paul Ryan rips Obama's foreign policy record
September 24th, 2012
09:47 PM ET
10 years ago

Paul Ryan rips Obama's foreign policy record

Lima, Ohio (CNN) – Rep. Paul Ryan offered a grim assessment of President Barack Obama's foreign policy record Monday, citing examples including the latest unrest in the Middle East that Mitt Romney's running mate warned "projects weakness" and threatens the nation's security.

"When the president came into office, he made these grand speeches, beautiful rhetoric, great promises, and he made the case that the power of his personality and his persuasion powers would calm things in the Muslim World, would make things, would make people respect us and like us that much more," Ryan said during a town hall in Ohio's Allen County.

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The Republican vice presidential nominee recalled the deadly attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing four including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and compared it to President Jimmy Carter's hostage crisis in Iran where 52 Americans were held hostage at the American Embassy for 444 days.

"I mean, turn on the TV and it reminds you of 1979 Tehran, but they are burning our flags in capitals all around the world, they are storming our embassies," he said. "We've lost four of our diplomats and what is the signal that our government is sending the rest of the world?"

"When you project American weakness - the superpower projecting weakness - that creates a vacuum, that creates a void," Ryan added. "That void gets filled by people in countries who do not share our interests. It means our adversaries are that much more tempted to test us and our allies are much less likely to trust us, like Israel."

Ryan condemned the Democratic president for a series of foreign policy episodes - from the latest unrest in the Middle East to Afghanistan to defense cuts - that he believes project "weakness" and threaten national security in the United States.

Wisconsin-native Ryan, who has served in the House of Representatives for 14 years, condemned Obama for presiding over Defense Department budget cuts that threaten jobs, including in Lima where Army M1 Abrams tanks are built and where the vice presidential hopeful kicked off his Ohio bus tour.

"Look, Lima, I know you understand, when you have a president, who his only eagerness to cut spending is in ... national security, when you have a president who has proposed again and again to shut down this tank factory, the only one we have, over a budget gimmick," he said.

Although Ryan has blamed Obama for what he has called "irresponsible defense cuts" during last year's budget negotiations, the House Budget Committee chairman, himself, helped guide and pass the Budget Control Act through Congress.

At the town hall held at the Veterans Memorial Civic Center downtown, Ryan took a question from a mother who has three children serving in the Armed Forces. She asked him what the Romney-Ryan plan would be to bring her children home from Afghanistan.

Ryan said was in favor of the transition agreement to end combat operations in late 2014 but he chided Obama for not listening to his commanders on the ground and vowed a Romney-Ryan administration would never put politics ahead of "what's right for national security."

Referring to the president, he said Obama, "just took 22,000 people out of theater this month, which I would argue is a politically motivated timetable before an election, but we're still giving our soldiers the same mission. We're just making them do this mission with fewer people. And when you send your men and women out with fewer people than what the commanders on the ground say they need you are putting them in jeopardy."

On the eve of Obama's speech Tuesday in New York to the United Nations General Assembly, Romney's running mate took a swipe at the president for deferring leadership to the member states.

"I think the president on too many occasions has deferred our foreign policy leadership to the U.N. Security Council, to the U.N. This means Russia and China get to veto what we want to do," said Ryan. "Why do we want to give them that kind of clout over our national security interests?"

Filed under: 2012 • Foreign Policy • Ohio • Paul Ryan
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Emilio

    Show me your record, Paul, I'm sure is much better and much more impressive, right?

    September 24, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  2. Jeff Enquist

    So what is Paul Eyan's foreign policy experience?

    September 24, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  3. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    What does a hot dog car driver ,Ryan know about foreign policy when he's been freeloading off the government for seven terms .

    September 24, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  4. Common Sensus

    bin laden – dead
    khaddafi – dead
    Iraq war – over
    Libya – rounding up terrorists suspected in embassy attacks as we speak
    More terrorists leaders assasinated thru targeted action and drone attacks in the last 3 years than in the previous 6
    Yep, looking pretty weak alright...

    September 24, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  5. Legalize Reason

    "Although Ryan has blamed Obama for what he has called "irresponsible defense cuts" during last year's budget negotiations, the House Budget Committee chairman, himself, helped guide and pass the Budget Control Act through Congress."

    The only void on this issue is the empty space between Ryan's ears. He voted for war in Iraq and he voted not to bring home trrops from Afghanistan. He is giving our enemies strength by shooting off his mouth about foreing policy which he know absolutely nothing about. This guy would send our sons and daughters in harms way at the drop of a hat (or check) on a hunt for WMD (Weapons of Mass Delusion). Worst of all, there is not a fact that he would not contort, misrepresent or purposely misconstrue in order to get into power. For the good of America, in addition to losing the Presidential election, I hope that his district sends him packing. He is better equipped for the one dimensional thinking of K Street than as a public servant (and take Cantor with you).

    September 24, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Rep. Paul Ryan offered a grim assessment of President Barack Obama's foreign policy record Monday, citing examples including the latest unrest in the Middle East that Mitt Romney's running mate warned "projects weakness" and threatens the nation's security.

    Ryan knows very little about national security , if he did he would understand our President had very little control over what happened in Libya and to our Ambassador .
    Romney and Ryan will blame Obama for everything and take no responsibility for the years they supported GW Bush and his failed polices .

    September 24, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  7. Joules Beef

    Bush had over a dozen such attacks over his 8 years, and no not in iraq or afghanistan.

    September 24, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  8. Pete

    Ryan has some large stones to rip Obama for defense cuts that he himself voted for. Has he no shame?

    September 24, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  9. CM

    Lets see, He lied about his income, forgot to included 20% He says: lied about his race time in a Marothon: lied that He ran in more than one, has lied about his voting record, There are other examples, I just can't remenber then at the moment.
    So who in the Hell does He thinks He is when He lie's about stuff that can be facted check. This is what we want, a big fat lier for VP-NOT!!!

    September 24, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  10. Hetman Ute

    Ryan is way out of his depth here.
    Without knowing all the secret details, who can say what they would have done in Obama's place?
    What would a Catholic like Ryan do?
    Would he ask the Pope's permission before doing anything? Or would he use his "rugged indivdualism" to do whatever gave him the most wealth and power?
    Obama is going to win. I think even the Pope knows that.

    September 24, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  11. Juno

    Middle East:

    The elephant in the closet:

    George Bush and Dick Cheney made a gross error in their response to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Their disastrous plan is still unfolding, yielding terrible changes all across the Middle East.

    They drove the military off a cliff, pursuing a grossly mistaken battle plan – from which there will be no recovery for a very long time.

    Let's face it America, The Bush/Cheney/GOP response to the 9/11 attack was ill planned with no idea whatsoever of the scope of their actions. The Middle eastern problem does not skip from one administration to the next as to 'whom to blame'. It started with the worst military idea in U.S. history, has ruined the economy and is war without end. To speak of this moment, or that, as if it is something new continues to ignore the obvious continuity of Bush/Cheney/GOP war making disaster that has befallen our country.

    September 24, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  12. Pete

    Remember Ayn Rand diciple Ryan saying not too long ago if he knew anything about foriegn policy and its contents,he said I'm a Wisconsin congressman and I don't care about foriegn policy,that's not me!!Now he acts like a veteran of years of foriegn policy achivements,just another arrogent,ignorent ,lying republican who will be schooled by just that,a real foriegn policy advisor in Joe Biden not just a wanne be punk ..A republican punk who breast fed off government handouts since his father died using his fathers SocialSecurity survivor benefits for college even though his father was a millionair in the construction business with state ,federal contracts and now living off the government as a congressman in Wisconsin for 14 years,who's dependant on who now nitwit...His poor struggling mom with two residences,one in Wisconsin,one in an exclusive condo in Ft.Lauderdale by the Sea,a gated one worth around one million,so again people who's dependant on who,she's doing well probibly just on the husbands life insurance policy payoff,he's lying like Romney and at the debates they'll all get exposed for what they are polical phonies,plain and simple!!And if Ryan is so sure about the presidencial campaign why is he campaigning for his old seat in Wisconsin,he does look optimist does he!!

    September 24, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    So, what is Ryan's foreign policy experience? Has he served as an ambassador or the House Commitee for Foreign Relations? I don't think he has done that or anything else that would help in this. This is a lot like Palin saying she has foreign policy and military experience because she was a governor.

    September 24, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  14. Claire

    This from the guy who voted for 2 unfunded wars and allowed bin laden to live a carefree life.

    September 24, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  15. Jill

    I think he has emmy potential - as the gift that keeps on giving. What might be refreshing is to hear more as to how Ryan himself would be the savior - rather than constantly insulting Pres. Obama. And that's not a biased view but, rather an observation of his style. The guy rubs me the wrong way - maybe he should elaborate as to how user friendly it would be for elderly to work with a voucher system to get their needed-care. I hope he loses his position in Senate...

    September 24, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  16. Marty, FL

    Lyin' Ryan, there you go again. The congressman hypocritically voted for the defense cuts.

    And Pres. Obama has demonstrated strength on foreign policy (OBL, responsibly ending the war in Iraq, etc.), not Bush neocons Romney chose for his advisers.

    September 24, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  17. stormchaser 101

    Paul Ryan is clearly delusional.The thought of Romney and Ryan in charge is scary

    September 24, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  18. n

    Chicken Hawks are always ready to send your sons and daughters to fight in a war over something that can be settled at the table. They will never volunteer themselves or send their own children but are always the first to howler "WAR" in the name of freedom and peace. That's their Foreign Policy in a nut shell . . . Ask missing in action Romney about the Vietnam War and then ask his kids about the middle east war and then ask Paul Ryan. Go ahead, Ask them.

    September 24, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  19. Dan5404

    For a man whose running mate joins him in total inexperience in foreign policy, he's putting his foot where his mouth should be. Ryan and Romney are bad news for this country any way you look at it. Let's help them just fade away after November ad then get some real work done.

    September 24, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  20. Chip Douglas

    Eddie Munster for VP!

    September 24, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  21. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    Anybody that listens to this hotdog car driver. That's been hiding in Washington for seven terms living off the tax payer needs to have their head examined this is the worst gop ticket ever and going down the toilet in Nov and taking the rest of the gop with him ,good ridences .

    September 24, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  22. Jasmine in Germany

    Sorry, Paul, you are off the mark and have revealed yourself to know too little about the world, which by the way includes foreign policy. Obama has done a great job. He has diplomaticallly brought our allies together again (GOP Bush II estranged them) with respect and has moved forward with proper communications to engage more countries to participate in a world peace plan. In-as-much that the GOP seeks denial and an autocratic power for themselves, the facts will perservere.
    The tragedies which have taken place in the Middle East regions are not because of Obama or US America's policies. They are because the peoples of these regions are dissatisfied with themselves and their own leadership. In many cases, instead of seeking solutions to their unhappiness, they seek to blame others, for example the USA, and not themselves for their own shortcomings and development. Obama has been working hard on extending the concept of democratic equal opportunity. The current GOP has only been damaging to world peace. They send a world-wide signal of being war-mongers and capitalistic bullies. In case the USA locals don't know it: Most of the rest of the world wants Obama to continue to be the US President so that a proper and intelligent leadership will prevail.

    The GOP belittles the intelligence of our voters by having pulled the "economy" card. This is an insult to all US Americans. The GOP should be ashamed of their corrupt oil-guzzling history.They, themselves, are responsible for the weak economy in the USA.

    P.S.: What's really sad is that niether Ryan or Romney can name the capital of our neighbor, Canada. If they happened to guess right, I still bet that neither one can name the capital of Maine.

    September 25, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  23. norma jean

    I wish it were possible to look into the future and see just how well Ryan could handle the drastic changes to our country and those to foreign nations that he proposes .....knowing that he has limited knowledge and experience in either direction but he HAS got a big enough mouth to put both feet into!!!

    September 25, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  24. MoninDenver

    Pinnochio it what comes to mind every time I see Paul Ryan.

    September 25, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  25. Stu Steinberg

    What a giant load of crap this guy is. He has no foreign policy experience and, apparently, believes that President Carter should have started WWIII over the Iranian hostage crisis, just as he and Romney threaten to go to war over Iran's so-called nuclear weapons program. The Israelis claim that Iran is within months of having enough fissionable material when no other intelligence agency in the world agrees with that. Ryan is another self-proclaimed patriot who never saw fit to wear the uniform of this country's military and Romney actively evaded military service during the Vietnam War. President Obama has been a fierce Commander-in-Chief and has, particularly through the drone program, made us safer. Romney and Ryan are taking their foreign policy advice from the same liars that led us into the Iraq debacle, costing more than 4,000 dead soldiers, by creating the fabricated story of WMDs. If Mitt Romney is elected President, we will be at war somewhere in Middle East within a year. He will kill us all.

    September 25, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
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