SWANTON, Ohio – Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan accused President Obama of failing to offer “spirited and principled leadership” at home or abroad here Monday, echoing ticket-mate Mitt Romney’s wide-ranging critique of the president’s foreign policy earlier in the day.
Ryan also defended the Republican budget he wrote against a claim from the Obama campaign that it cuts $11 billion from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
“He is mischaracterizing our support for veterans. Let me make one thing very clear, in the House budget that we drafted and that we passed, we fully met and exceeded the president’s request for…veterans funding by $270 million,” Ryan said during a rally in an airport hangar. “We didn’t think the president’s went far enough and we expanded it because we know this is a promise that must be kept. These people put their lives on the line and in a Romney administration we will always keep our promise and our commitment to our veterans. ”
Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, has written a 10-year budget blueprint that brings non-security domestic discretionary spending down below 2008 levels. As a result he proposes spending $5.3 trillion less than what Obama’s 10-year plan envisions, according to FactCheck.org.
Ryan doesn’t say what he’d cut. The Obama campaign assumes an 19 percent across the board cut in discretionary spending, including $11 billion from veterans programs. The GOP campaign says the Ryan budget would actually spend $16.4 billion more; the discrepancy, according to a Washington Post analysis, is because the Obama administration assumes more veterans will be receiving higher disability benefits over the decade.
After Ryan’s speech, the Obama campaign stood by its claim. “Romney has suggested privatizing veterans’ health care and their budget includes unspecified cuts to domestic spending that could mean deep cuts to Veteran’s Affairs. No matter their rhetoric four weeks before an election, those are the unfortunate facts about their policies,” said spokesman Danny Kanner.
Before Ryan began his rally, viewers were able to watch a live stream as Romney concluded his own foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va.
“We just watched what leadership looks like,” Ryan said when he took the stage after the speech concluded. Expanding on Romney’s themes, he focused in particular on turmoil in the Middle East, including the attacks in Libya that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. The administration initially said protests against an anti-Islam video may have triggered the attacks, but more recently has said they were terrorist attacks possibly related to an arm of al Qaida.
Ryan said that in a Romney administration, “when we know that we are clearly attacked by terrorists, we won’t be afraid to say what it is. If terrorists attack us, we will say we had a terrorist attack and more importantly, we will do what is necessary to prevent that from happening by having a strong military, by making sure that our adversaries do not test us, do not think that we are a weak and in retreat.”