GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan today criticized the president’s defense policy, telling a crowd in De Pere “devastating defense cuts breed weakness.”
But Ryan did not wade into the controversy over riots in Egypt and Libya and the administration’s response to them.
The Janesville congressman started his town hall meeting with a moment of silence for victims of what he called the "outrageous" attack in Libya, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, saying the tragedy shows that the “world needs American leadership.”
In contrast, Mitt Romney slammed the administration for its handling of the riots and accused Obama of wanting to apologize for American values. But Ryan did not address the administration’s response.
He chided the president's defense strategy, saying, "he's not cutting spending in all these other areas, but our military."
He said a Romney administration would embrace a "peace through strength" approach to foreign policy.
“If you show moral equivocation, then foreign policy adventuring among our adversaries will increase,” Ryan said.
Later, in response to a question from the audience, Ryan also slammed the White House over leaks of classified national security information, saying they "undermine the men and women who put risks on their lives for us."
"How are we going to get people to help us in the war on terror if this is how we treat our allies in the war on terror?" Ryan asked in response to a question about an imprisoned Pakistani doctor who aided in the attack on Osama Bin Laden. "A Romney administration will not make those kind of mistakes."
Apart from addressing the riots, Ryan focused the bulk of his remarks on his standard stump speech that the country faces “the proverbial fork in the road.”
“Mitt Romney and I understand what’s going on in this economy,” Ryan said. “We understand the challenges that we’re facing. We understand that we can do a lot better than this,” Ryan said.
Ryan also ripped the president's tax proposals, saying they'd be detrimental to businesses who pay taxes as individuals. He said Obama wanted Americans to believe they'd only impact "Aaron Rodgers or Prince Fielder."
And he said federal agencies need a "management makeover" to help rein in government spending, saying the culture of those agencies has created an "autopilot government" of funding increases.
"I literally cannot think of a better man for this challenge than Mitt Romney," Ryan said.