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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ryan Joins Criticism of Administration on Libya Attack


LANCASTER, Ohio - Representative Paul D. Ryan joined Mitt Romney in criticizing President Obama on Friday over the attack in Benghazi, Libya, adding another turn of the screw to an indictment of the administration's evolving explanation of events.

“First they blame a YouTube video and a nonexistent riot,'' Mr. Ryan told a throng of supporters here, at his first public appearance since his debate with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday night in Danville, Ky. “Then when the country's getting upset about it, they blame Romney and Ryan for getting people upset about it.''

“They keep changing their story,'' he added. “This is not what leadership looks like.''

Earlier in the da y, Mr. Romney attacked Mr. Biden for asserting in the debate that the administration never received requests for greater security at the diplomatic outpost where Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. Two security officials testified before a House committee on Wednesday that they asked for more officers, but were turned down by the State Department.

Pressed to explain the discrepancy, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said on Friday that the State Department handled security at its outposts and that Mr. Biden meant only that he and Mr. Obama had not known of the requests.

“We need clarity, not confusion,'' Mr. Ryan said here. “We need accountability and no more excuses. This tragedy would be troubling in and of itself, and tragic of itself, but unfortunately what we are witnessing when we turn on our TVs on a daily basis is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy.''

Mr. Ryan, who appeared on an outdoor s tage in the center of town with Mr. Romney at his side, linked international events to the most local of interests, seizing on another comment of Mr. Biden's in the debate that the Pentagon sought to make a transition to a leaner, smaller Army.

“We don't need more M1 tanks, what we need is more U.A.V's,” Mr. Biden said, referring to unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones.

As it happens, production of the M1 tank is based in Lima, Ohio, and Mr. Ryan raised the threat of job losses here in what may be the hardest-fought of all battleground states.

“When you say it's O.K. to impose these devastating cuts in our military or we don't need any more Lima-built M1 tanks,'' Mr. Ryan said, “what we are doing is we're projecting weakness.''

The Romney-Ryan campaign also released a radio ad in central and northwestern Ohio accusing Mr. Biden of wanting “to take away one of the most vital weapons in our arsenal - made right here in Ohio.''

And Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, an adviser to Mr. Romney who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement that the M1 supported 800 jobs in Lima.

Mr. Romney will spend another full day campaigning in Ohio on Saturday. He worked a local angle of his own when he spoke after Mr. Ryan. He told the large crowd of an unusual connection he had to Lancaster.

“My very first assignment at my first job was to come to Lancaster. I'm serious,” he said. “And try to do a little work at a little company called Anchor Hocking,'' a maker of glass tableware. Mr. Romney was apparently referring to his work fresh out of Harvard Business School working for the Boston Consulting Company.

He recalled “standing next to those big glass furnaces” and learning about “triple gob machines” at the glass works.

“It's good to be back,'' he said, cognizant that all politics â€" tanks or casserole dishes â€" is local.