Paul Ryan speaks to military and veterans in Colorado
POSTED: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 2:42pm
Colorado Springs, Colorado (CNN) — Rep. Paul Ryan appealed to veterans and active military in Colorado at two events on Tuesday in which he assailed President Barack Obama for weakening military with defense cuts and mishandling Arab Spring uprisings.
In the aftermath of the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing four including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, the Republican vice presidential nominee escalated his criticism of the Democratic incumbent president's handling of the incident, saying it was an example of "how the Obama foreign policy is blowing up in our faces."
"Look around the world. It looks like Tehran in 1979 but in about a dozen capitals around the world," said Ryan, referring to the hostage crisis in Iran where 52 Americans were held hostage at an American embassy for 444 days.
"They are burning our flags at our embassies. They're climbing our walls at our embassies. They're taking down our flags and putting up the flags of the Muslim Brotherhood. They just killed four of our diplomats in Benghazi, and Iran is that much closer toward a nuclear weapon," he continued.
Ryan made those remarks in Fort Collins, his sixth town hall meeting in two weeks, in a county that voted for Obama in 2008.
In the afternoon, he held an outdoor rally in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado Springs, an area home to five military installations that Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain won four years ago.
The GOP candidate said a Romney-Ryan administration would push for a strong military and missile defense program. Just like he made a local connection when he was campaigning in Ohio on Monday, Ryan called out the area bases in Colorado Springs.
"To the soldiers in Fort Carson, to the airmen at Peterson and Schriever Air Force Base, and to those cadets at the Air Force Academy, we respect you, we appreciate you and we will back you because we need you. We need your support. We need what you do," he told approximately 1,500 people gathered at America the Beautiful Park.
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 throughout the defense industry.
"And these defense cuts that he is promising, these devastating defense cuts that he is promising not only undermine our peace, not only undermine our security, they compromise jobs right here," Ryan said Tuesday evening.
Although Ryan has blamed Obama for what he has calls "devastating defense cuts," during last year's budget negotiations, the House Budget Committee chairman himself helped guide and pass the Budget Control Act through Congress. Many Democrats also voted for the measure, and it was signed by the president.
At his fourth event in Colorado, a critical swing state that voted for Obama in 2008, Ryan described the defense cuts as a threat to national security.
"And please know that when we gut our military as the president is proposing, when we equivocate on speaking up for our values overseas, our freedom, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom for women and women's rights and individual rights, when we do this, we project weakness abroad," Ryan said.
He continued, "And when we project weakness abroad, our enemies are more willing to test us, they are more brazen and our allies are less willing to trust us and that will not happen under a Mitt Romney administration because we believe in peace through strength."
In Fort Collins at a mowing manufacturing company Ryan was asked if presidential nominee Romney was going to be "forceful in those debates and take it to Obama?"
"Of course he will," Ryan responded. "Look, this is a president, a man who campaigned with all this glorious rhetoric, all this hope and change, promising all these grand things, and he's yet to deliver on all these big promises."
"We are not simply asking you to fire Barack Obama because he's not worth re-hiring," he continued. "We're asking you to fire Barack Obama because we are worth hiring because we have better ideas."
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By Shawna Shepherd