OWENSVILLE, Ohio — U .S. Rep. Paul Ryan started his campaign rally here today with a remembrance of the four Americans killed in an attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, while also lending support to his running mate’s criticism of the Obama administration.
“All Americans are saddened and shocked today by what we saw in the Middle East. These deaths are horrific, our hearts are heavy,” Mr. Ryan said.
The Wisconsin congressman is running mate to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“The world needs American leadership. The administration sent mixed signals to those who attacked our embassy in Egypt and mixed signals to the world. It is never too early for the United States to condemn attacks on Americans, on our properties, and to defend our values,” Mr. Ryan said.
He accused the current administration of projecting weakness abroad, and said that “peace through strength will be the Romney-Ryan foreign policy of this country.”
Vice President Joe Biden campaigned on the same day in Dayton, where he also offered words of solace and appreciation for the courage of Americans who died when their diplomatic facility was overrun.
The Romney campaign said about 3,000 people attended the Ryan rally, held in a sectioned-off area of the Clermont County Fairgrounds. It featured a warm-up from country music star John Michael Montgomery, who sang his 1992 hit “Life’s A Dance” and other tunes.
Mr. Ryan said the United States under the Obama administration is “a country in decline,” and claimed the President and his supporters are more worried about their re-election than the future of the country.
He cited Europe’s debt crisis, and reprised the sports analogies that flew back and forth last week between Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama.
“It’s the most predictable economic crisis we’ve ever had, and yet the President has completely punted on this issue,” Mr. Ryan said. And he accused the President of transforming his campaign message. “Hope and change have become attack and blame,” Mr. Ryan said.
He bemoaned what he said was half of all college graduates not working or working in jobs they didn’t train for.
“We need to have an educational system that helps these people get the skills they need, the careers, in a 21st Century economy,” Mr. Ryan said, without spelling out any specific ideas for making that happen. Instead, he advocated a cut in federal spending.
Obama campaign spokesman Jessica Kershaw said President Obama is “laying the foundation for a rural economy built to last — one that invests in reclaiming rural middle class security and restoring the basic values of fairness and opportunity that make our country great.
“Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney’s plan would gut rural America’s economic security at a time when we need it the most, cutting investments in rural infrastructure, and turning Medicare into a voucher program,” Ms. Kershaw said.
Mr. Ryan noted that he graduated from Miami University of Ohio, not far from Owensville. Joining Mr. Ryan at the rally were his mother, Betty, wife Janna, and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and Gov. John Kasich.
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Vice Presidential candidate accuses Obama of weak foreign policies.