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. Randal

    I hope Rayan remembers Beirut Barracks Bombing that happened under President Ronald Reagan.
    What did Regan do after that ... he pulled the troops out of Lebanon.

    September 25, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  2. K

    Ryan's a hypocrite. HE was an integral player in getting the sequestration passed. He supported it with his vote. And now he blames the president. I don't know how these guys sleep at night.

    September 25, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  3. Anonymous

    Unlike 911 under the GOP. Not to mention that by taking out Iraq, Iran lost its enemy and can turn its attention to bigger and better things

    September 25, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  4. jeremy

    A member of congress talks about how poor the president has done? And how can he talk about the president failed foreign policy? People overseas like Obama. They do not like extreme conservative politicians. This comes from the mouth of UK citizens. Another thing they said was how exactly can the president prevent the attack on the Libyan embassy? The president did come out against the attacks. Just because he didn't jump to going to war over it doesn't make him or the US seem weak at all.

    These guys will lie about anything, spin the truth on anything just to get votes. Well this citizen won't be voting in an eextremist liar. Guess I'm in that 47% eh?

    September 25, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  5. Chuck Jones

    Ryan is a joke. He lies and lies and lies. I think he likes hearing himself talk.

    September 25, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  6. Rob

    I doubt that Ryan could find Libya on a map. Romney proved on his "world tour" that he can't be trusted to deal with our allies, let alone our enemies. Put them together and you just double the incompetence. Do we really want our foreign policy in the hands of Laurel and Hardy? We already did that with 8 years of Bush and Cheney.

    September 25, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  7. NYVeteran

    Gee, can the President of the United States really magically make things happen all over the world in soveriegn natgions with their own peoples, governments and procedures? Wow, we should open the electorate to all of them. Wait, if thats the power of the President, why, when George W Bush was President, didnt we solve world hunger, have world peace and all get rich? Makes you wonder......Paul Ryan to wardrobe,Eddie Munster wants his hair back!

    September 25, 2012 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  8. Hotdog

    Ryan is trying to give the appearance that a Romney/Ryan administration would be tough on defense. This is not the first time nor will it be the last time that people in foreign countries burned our flag. Duty at our embassies in foreign countries is a high risk position and the people that serve in these positions are aware of that. Any one knows that when you serve in a foreign country in any capacity that you are at a disadvantage.

    We need to cut our defense budget in some areas. There is no secret about that. This country is and will always be able to defend itself and our adversaries are aware of this. If Ryan is so supportive of the military why didn't he serve?

    September 25, 2012 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  9. Klargar

    His lies have been outed on his budget as completely unworkable ,the 700 Billion dollar lie has been totally debunked now on to fresh lie territory for this repugnant piece of feces.

    September 25, 2012 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  10. MRstfu

    What message was Bush sending when they took out the World Trade Center? And he is friends with a lot of oil barons running those countries. More GOP CRAP.

    September 25, 2012 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  11. Lisa

    Ryan is so offensive. The US looks "weak", eh? Coming from a man who will look the women of American in the face and legally impose them to bear the children of their rapist, I guess anything might look weak.

    September 25, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  12. Daniel

    Now Paul is an expert on foreign policy? Well, his ability to lie with a straight face would help him in that arena. Has this guy said anything positive about anything sense becoming Mitts pit bull? The Republican foreign policy agenda is if anyone dares look at you side ways you kick them in the face and worry about the consequences later.

    September 25, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  13. Khijdwb Vang

    In response to the absurd notion that President Obama is weak on foreign policy, all that needs to be said is, "He ordered the attack that took out America's #1 enemy in a foreign AND sovereign country that has BOTH terrorists AND nuclear weapons!"

    September 25, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  14. MollyBee

    Ryan is an idiot and liar. The Grand Old Party has outdone itself in choosing ridiculous Veep candidates. Wow!

    September 25, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  15. norhetoric

    What message was Bush sending when they took out the World Trade Center? And he is friends with a lot of oil barons running those countries. More GOP CRAP.

    September 25, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  16. Christopher

    Ryan, what is weak is your line of attack. Most voters trust what their "lying eyes" tell them- which is that Obama as done a damn good job defending our country and wrapping up costly wars that need to end!!

    September 25, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  17. Marshal

    Why would this fellow not talk about what he wants to do? all he does is squeak.

    September 25, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  18. bigtbone

    Desperation among the vulture and voucher has forced them to reveal how much contempt they have for the united states.

    This isn't "risk" or "call of duty", boys. Do they really think we can control what goes on in foreign lands? Are we drone striking every anti us protest in the middle east?

    Said it before- you can fit their foreign policy knowledge in a thimble.

    September 25, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  19. Core republican Values

    Ryan is a fool. Ask former president Bush what running around "looking strong" got us – $3 trillion poorer, and a few tens of thousands dead or wounded.

    The republicans are more than stupid. They're dangerous.

    September 25, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  20. Rush

    Hmmm, what's the matter Congressman? Not enough troops coming home in body bags? Not enough trillions being borrowed to fund bogus wars? Your camp looks more desperate every time you guys talk.

    September 25, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  21. Jim

    The GOP is the party of hate and war. Ready, shoot, aim.

    September 25, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  22. John Diplomat

    4 dead diplomats is better than 4000 dead american soldiers at the hands of GW Bush.

    The stiff hand of the GOP wages war and raises deficits. That is what they mean by strong hand. Let the muslim world be if thats what they want. Americans do not have the money to pay for more war.

    The department of defense should be called the dept of offense. We cannot sustain spending 25% of GDP on our military.

    September 25, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  23. TomNPitt

    This guy is too weak communicating the oil corporations messages. I'm amazed at how excited the Republican's have gotten over the latest unrest in the middle east. What's going on this summer in the Middle East vs the last 25 years?? Romney and the republican's are losing badly, and they can't get anyone to believe they're better at international management than Obama is.

    September 25, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  24. zooni

    Bush was the savour of the middle east bring democracy. I guess if Obama brings democracy he is a bad guy. The corporate GOP have no values or principles.

    September 25, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  25. maria Bryan

    Ryan need to shut is mouth because he dam well know how hard the president try to work with GOP them and all they do is make his work much harder for him, also before the president take office the world hated America and today they look at America different thanks to the president

    September 25, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
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