PAINESVILLE, Ohio – With sheets of rain falling from the sky, Mitt Romney led a moment of silence for the four Americans killed this week in Libya as he addressed an outdoor rally here Friday afternoon, noting that “the sky seems to be crying as well.”
The Republican presidential nominee delayed the start of his stump speech in Painesville until the ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base, where President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received the victims’ bodies, had concluded.
Romney began his 19-minute speech here with a somber tone. He looked down at a notecard to read aloud the names of the four men who died in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya this week.
“I’d ask that you might each place your hand over your heart in recognition of the blood shed from freedom and by our other sons and daughters who’ve lost their lives in the cause of America and the cause of liberty,” Romney told the crowd, asking them to “take a moment of silence together.”
Although Romney and his advisers have sharply criticized Obama’s foreign policy all week, Romney did not attack the president’s leadership abroad in his remarks here. He spoke mostly about the economy and told voters that he would do a better job than Obama nursing the country’s ailing economy.
“I understand how important it is for America to be strong,” Romney said. “I know what we have to do in terms of growing our principles and values, growing our economy and making sure our military is second to none. I will not cut American military.”
Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, speaking in Harrisonburg, Va., also held a moment of silence and refrained from criticizing Obama’s foreign policy.
“We just moments ago witnessed and watched the bodies of the four slain diplomats arrive at Andrews Air Force Base from Libya,” he said. “I’d like to ask for a moment of silence for our ambassador, Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Let’s have a moment of silence in prayer and recognition for these heroes.”
Ryan’s only shot at Obama on foreign policy came when, toward the end of his stump speech, he told the crowd, “We will not apologize.”