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Ryan bolsters Romney's foreign policy offensive in battleground Ohio


SWANTON, Ohio — Mitt Romney's major foreign policy speech got a boost just a few minutes after it ended from running mate Paul Ryan, who praised the address and also talked up foreign policy during a stop in the battleground state of Ohio.

“I just watched on TV what you watched on that TV,” Ryan said inside a hangar at Toledo Express Airport, where the crowd viewed  #mce_temp_url# live on a monitor. “We just watched what leadership looks like.”

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney offered few new policy details in his speech at the Virginia Military Institute, choosing instead to zero in on the upheaval in the Middle East. Meanwhile, two polls present different NBC's Peter Alexander reports.

After referencing the terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed four American diplomats, Ryan vowed that if elected, the GOP ticket will keep America safe.

“The point is, in a Romney administration, when we know that we are clearly attacked by terrorists, we won’t be afraid to say what it is. If terrorists attack us, we will say we had a terrorist attack and more importantly, we will do what is necessary to prevent that from happening by having a strong military, by making sure that our adversaries do not test us, do not think that we are a weak and in retreat,” he said.

Standing with several veterans scattered throughout the nearly 1,000-person crowd Monday morning, the congressman hit President Barack Obama, accusing him of trying to distort his record of helping veterans while in Congress.

Former Ambassador Richard Williamson, the senior foreign policy advisor to the Romney campaign, and former Pentagon official Colin Kahl, a national security advisor to the Obama campaign, lay out the differences between the two candidates.

“Because President Obama does not have a good record to run on, he has resorted to trying to distort ours. Lately, he talks about what Bob Latta and I did in the House. He is mischaracterizing our support for veterans,” Ryan claimed. “Let me make one thing very clear, in the House budget that we drafted and that we passed, we fully met and exceeded the President’s request for veterans funding…by 270 million dollars. That means, we saw a commitment, a promise that our government has made to our veterans.”

He promised: “These people put their lives on the line and in a Romney administration we will always keep our promise and our commitment to our veterans."

Ryan’s foreign policy credentials – which were questioned when Romney first selected Ryan to join the ticket – will likely be brought up Thursday during the vice presidential debate against Vice President Joe Biden.

The Washington Post's Dan Balz, the Center for American Progress' Neera Tanden, and Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post and CNBC's "Kudlow Report" look at where the four candidates are headed this week.

Speaking about the military and attacking Obama’s foreign policy is not new for the Republican vice presidential nominee, as he has addressed the topics during speeches in both Colorado and Florida.

Ryan now heads to Michigan to finish off the day — making his first appearance back in the state since Aug. 24th — holding a public rally in Rochester and an education roundtable in Detroit. 

Mary Altaffer / AP

Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. speaks during a campaign event, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, in Swanton, Ohio.