OLDSMAR, Fla. - Paul Ryan ratcheted up his criticism of President Obama on the issue of national security at a rally in this crucial battleground state, telling the crowd: “If we project weakness, they come” and if the nation is “strong” our enemies “will not test us.”
“Look, we turn on the TV and we see what’s going on,” Ryan continued, referring to the attacks on U.S. embassies in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. “If there is one thing that this reminds me it is that peace through strength works. We need a strong military. We need a strong national security. If we project weakness, they come. If we are strong, they, our adversaries will not test us and our allies will respect us.”
When the vice presidential nominee mentions defense spending cuts he is referring to the looming $500 billion worth of defense cuts known as the sequester.
Although Ryan blames the president on the campaign trail for the cuts, the debt limit was increased under an agreement that called on a bipartisan “super-committee” to negotiate an additional $1.2 trillion in savings, or face sequestration - meaning the automatic cuts that include those defense cuts and items unpalatable to each party. After the super-committee failed to strike a deal, the country was left with sequestration. Ryan was a member of that committee.