Paul Ryan charged today that President Obama is risking the lives of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan by making a political calculation to draw down U.S. troops just before the election rather than listen to military commanders in the field.
Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate, said the GOP ticket would “never put politics ahead” of doing what is necessary to “keep our soldiers safe.”
The GOP vice presidential candidate told Laura Ingraham on her radio show that a Romney administration “would listen to our commanders on the ground when they recommend that we don’t pull our troops during a fighting season.”
“They just pulled about 22,000 troops in September, which to me is a political decision to have a draw down before the election, but we’re still giving our soldiers the same mission, the same counter-insurgency mission, but we’re sending fewer people out to do the same job,” Ryan said.
Ryan continued, saying the “politicization of these decisions is something we would never do.”
“We would never put politics ahead of what our commanders say is necessary to do the job and keep our soldiers as safe as possible when they’re prosecuting this war,” Ryan said.
This is a point the House Budget chairman has made before, but this is some of the toughest language Ryan has used recently against the president.
Despite the harsh words, Ryan conceded as he has before that he agrees with the president’s date of a pull out of troops by 2014. Romney and Ryan disagree with making that date public.
The Obama campaign issued a statement from spokesperson Danny Kanner saying, “Mitt Romney has failed to outline any plan to end the war in Afghanistan or bring our troops home, which is why his running mate’s relying on political talking points that bear no resemblance to reality. We are drawing our troops down in Afghanistan because we are accomplishing what we went there to do – bring justice to those responsible for 9/11,decimate al-Qaeda, and deny them a safe haven.”
Despite recent polling that puts their ticket between five and eight points behind their opponent in Ohio Ryan said “we’re still in the hunt” in the crucial battleground state. No Republican has made it to the White House without winning the Buckeye state.
Another state where his ticket is trailing is Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin, a state they will remain focused on Ryan told another conservative radio host, Charlie Sykes of WTMJ in Milwaukee. Ryan told Sykes he will be campaigning in the state Saturday.
“We will be there quite a bit as this campaign closes,” Ryan said.
Obama will also be in Wisconsin. He has scheduled a post-debate rally in Madison Thursday.