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Paul Ryan sharpens criticism of Obama over Libya attack

OWENSVILLE, Ohio – At a southwest Ohio rally Wednesday evening, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan delivered sharper criticism of President Obama in the wake of the attacks in Libya and Egypt than he had at a town hall in Wisconsin earlier in the day.

Speaking at the Clermont County Fairgrounds, Ryan echoed GOP  presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s charge that the Obama administration had sent mixed messages in response to Tuesday’s attacks on the U.S. diplomatic missions in Benghazi, Libya, and Cairo, Egypt.

In a broader swipe at Obama’s foreign policy record, he told the crowd: “This administration’s policies project weakness abroad.”

In the nearly 24 hours since Romney issued a statement condemning Obama’s response to the attacks, the Republican presidential nominee has come under sharp criticism, including from some inside the GOP, who have argued that he acted too swiftly to politicize the incidents. Ryan pushed back against such criticism Wednesday, telling the Ohio crowd: “It is never too early for Americans to defend attacks and defend our values.”

Ryan’s mother and wife joined him at the event, which will be his last campaign rally before heading back to Washington on Thursday to vote on a government funding resolution.

Among those introducing Ryan were Jane Dudley Portman, the wife of Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), whose rosy view of his state’s economy has often been at odds with the messaging of the GOP ticket. Kasich renewed his focus on Ohio’s economic recovery on Wednesday, telling the fairgrounds crowd: “Ohio’s on the comeback now!” He also called Ryan “the Paul Revere of the next generation.”

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Republicans debated Saturday night. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Dan Balz says...
Rarely has the division between Trump and party elites been more apparent. Trump trashed one of the most revered families in Republican politics and made a bet that standing his ground is better than backing down. Drawing boos from the audience, Trump did not flinch. But whether he will be punished or rewarded by voters was the unanswerable question.
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Quoted
I don't know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish.
Sen. Marco Rubio, attacking Sen. Ted Cruz in Saturday night's very heated GOP debate in South Carolina. Soon after, Cruz went on a tirade in Spanish.
The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
The State's Andy Shain says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
67% 22%
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

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