DE PERE, Wis. – In contrast to Mitt Romney – who sharply criticized Obama at a Jacksonville, Fla., news conference earlier Wednesday – GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan did not take aim at the president in his remarks as he took the stage at Cornerstone Community Ice Center outside of Green Bay.
“I know all Americans today are shocked and saddened by the news in the Middle East,” Ryan told a crowd in his home state. “The attacks on our diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya, and the loss of four American lives — including our ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens — this is outrageous. Our hearts are heavy. And our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
He led the crowd in a brief moment of silence, then said: “This is a time for healing. It’s a time for resolve. In the face of such a tragedy, we are reminded that the world needs American leadership, and the best guarantee of peace is American strength.”
Ryan did not mention President Obama or directly criticize him in his opening remarks, but said in response to an audience question that “it’s very important that a president speak with a single voice representing our principles and our values.”
He also said that “if you show weakness, if you show moral equivocation, then foreign policy adventurism among our adversaries will increase.” And Ryan again raised the issue of the defense sequester, arguing that the “devastating defense cuts breed weakness.”
Ryan’s remarks on the attacks came at the beginning of a town hall meeting, the first solo town hall he has held since Romney tapped him to serve as his running mate last month. Ryan typically delivers stump speeches but rarely takes questions from audience members. The last times he did so were last month at a defense roundtable in Fayetteville, N.C., and at a joint town hall with Romney in New Hampshire.