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. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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.
    Plenty of speculation around the office as to who funded these "spontaneous" yet well-armed demonstrations in over 12 countries. All of which occured almost simultaneously.
    Questions as to who would stand to benefit in making it seem like the US is so hated abroad keep surfacing.
    Why would someone bring a rocket-launcher to a protest?

    If I were you, Lyin' Ryan, I'd try to NOT bring up these very suspect new "developments" in the Middle East, at least until the President and those he has investigating these events get to the bottom of this. Okay?
    Obama 2012.

    September 25, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  2. Kwasi

    Rule no one, done just criticize without offering alternatives to what you would do differently. No US president has a magic wand for the Middle East issues. win or fail, in assisting governments in transition and respecting sovereignty, the administration get at least a B= for effort and the Republican run congress gets a D

    September 25, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  3. runphas7

    Who believes anything Ryan says, he lied about his marathon time. He will lie about anything. AND he wears his hatred of President Obama on his sleeve and you can see that hatred in his face every time he mentions President Obama name.

    September 25, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  4. wgf

    Are we really supposed to believe Libya would have unfolded differently in a Romney administration ? Does Ryan really believe that, having killed Bin Laden and a couple of dozen other Al Quadea leaders while they sit around in a foreign country, that Obama does not project strength to terrorists ? They are terrorists and zealots - which means they are three-quarters crazy. Does Ryan believe that the terrorists sit around saying to themselves "Wait, we can't attack the embassy. Romney is projecting strength." If so, then why didn't Bush just project some strength to prevent 9-11 ?

    As for the Carter comparison, Ryan is showing his youth.

    September 25, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  5. Capn Kirk

    Wait, so Obama is adding to much to the deficit AND cutting too much spending. Obama needs to bring the troops home but also leave them out there? I think the Rep. Ryan needs to get his message straight.

    September 25, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  6. Namechuck

    Ryan is a follower not a leader so he may as well go get in his baby crib and chill out pretending to be romneyIII

    September 25, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  7. Sadie Boyd

    "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." What an imbecile! Ha, ha, ha, ha, BA in Economics! This guy is a very weak link...the problem is that a lot of Americans are not reading the whole he gets away with all kinds of supercilious remarks.

    September 25, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  8. Rags

    Lyin Ryan! BLah, blah, blah. Over and over again. He say nothing, just talks and talks and says nothing.

    September 25, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  9. pwmcgill

    Mr. Ryan. What planet do you live on? President Obama has done much to repair damage to our image caused by the GOP around the world. Do you remember the headlines in at least one British newspaper after the 2004 election in which "W" won the election, of course? It went something like this: "How Can 60,000,000 People Be So Dumb?". Well, if Romney and you win this election, will the headlines around the world go something like this? "Is America Even Dumber than in 2004 or are They On Drugs?"

    September 25, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  10. RUKiddingMe

    How do you know when Paul Ryan is lying? He is holding a microphone.

    September 25, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  11. ty

    desperation is seldom pretty. ryan proves that. take his tendency to decive and lie, add despertain and you have BIG lies, fear mongering and sheer stupidity. his career is over.

    September 25, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  12. 0RacKL

    When Ryan actually gets a better foreign policy record than Obama, then maybe he will be in a position to criticize. Until then, since he has absolutely nothing to show, he should just shut up. And we've already seen the "expertise" of Romney and his campaign managers. If they aren't committing political gaffes right off the plane in Britain, then they're discussing the "Soviet Union," "Yugoslavia" and "Czechoslovakia" as if they still exist as part of the Soviet block. Do I want the Romney White House running foreign policy? I don't think so.

    September 25, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  13. mac3333

    Ryan's party's Foreign Policy = FAIL. So this is just a classic case of projection ...

    September 25, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  14. Utah Friday

    Ryan is nothing but a tool. He actually flip flops more than his boss...Flip Romney. Which in and of itself is an accomplishment! Please both of you, just go away!

    September 25, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  15. IaMomOf4

    I get tired to this guy's lips flapping in the wind. Wasn't there a bill recently defeated by the Republicans that would of helped Veterans? Just can't remember.
    I don't know about anyone else but I get tired of everyone expecting the USA to be the watchdog of the earth. Yes, there are some wackos over there that may have their grubby little hands on things they shouldn't have but why don't other countries step up to the plate then? Aren't we all members of the planet earth? Just wondering...

    September 25, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  16. stainpouch

    Republicans promising to follow the directions of their military field commanders? This sounds somewhat familiar....hmmmmmm..... oh yeah, that was what old G W used to say, just before he ignored their advice and they resigned one after another. Since it was wrong to bail out the auto manufactures, shouldn't we have let the tank manufacturing sector "bottom out" as well? Perhaps we should outsource our tanks to Subaru–what say you, Willard? Hahahahahahaha–on to the flag factory, boys (that where all the Bush's used to hide when things got tough), but alack, there aren't any left in the US–well, there's always the Daughters of the American Revolution–they seldom boo fascists. Find the D.A.R., boys–it's all you have left.

    September 25, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  17. Bob

    Excuse me? Is this really supposed to convince us that an unjustified war by the previous administration had NOTHING to do with the increased hatred of the US in other parts of the world? We are seen as a bully, not a weakling.

    September 25, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  18. GI Joe

    Gee – We'd sure love to hear YOUR plans, Lyin Ryan.

    September 25, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  19. stainpouch

    Is that a tie or a fruit roll-up?

    September 25, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  20. RIck

    How can anyone honestly believe that cutting back on a defense budget which is already higher than the next 14 nations COMBINED would be completely irresponsible?

    September 25, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  21. Ames IA

    Paul Ryan reminds me of a fitness hearing for an elderly relative so her nephew would manage her financial affairs. Wouldn't you know she was sharp the day she went to the judge. She answered dozens of questions very well and then he asked, Judge – "and who is this with you today?" Wilma-"My nephew Marvin." J-"And what does he do?" W-"He is a farmer." J-"And what does he raise on his farm?" W-"Monkeys." J-"Thank you Wilma that will be all for today." Paul Ryan sounds convincing in his calm measured tone....and then the monkeys.

    September 25, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  22. wolfpackbob

    It is The Economy, Mr. President. Your Economy, Mr. President.

    September 25, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  23. ST

    I do think when it comes about Foreign policy there is no need of ripping each other regardless of party affiliation. It makes much sense if both parties come together for the sake of the entire nation. The enemy doesn't choose whether you are a Dem or a Rep, what they know is to take life of any American.

    September 25, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  24. strohs01

    Congratulations Mr. Ryan. You have clearly demonstrated your complete ignorance of the Middle East while simultaneously assuming the American people are ignorant of the budget process. In the Middle East the Arab Spring removed leaders who the US worked with for decades as their strong-handed rule kept the oil flowing. The leaders are gone but the people are far from prosperous. It is sad that a proportionately few turn to rioting and take the lives of Americas, and others but it is not entire countries rising up against the US. What is you're plan – roll in with tanks or carpet bomb them to put them in their place?

    As for the budget and the defense cuts, the budget comes form Congress and the cuts were part of a compromise between congress and the White House. That means you and the Republican majority agreed, so take some responsibility for your actions instead of passing the buck. Perhaps this is just another of your honest mistakes, like lying about your marathon time.

    September 25, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  25. Jefflazrn

    Really? What's Paul Ryan done for us lately? Obama 2012

    September 25, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
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