Paul Ryan Assails 'Barack Obama Straw Man' Tactic

Mary Altaffer/AP Photo

WASHINGTON D.C. - Paul Ryan unveiled an aggressive new argument against his opponent at a conservative summit Friday accusing the president of a straw man strategy and "if anyone dares to point out the facts" of the president's "record" then "they're just being negative and pessimistic about the country."

"It's classic Barack Obama straw man," Ryan said at the Values Voters forum. "The new straw man is people hoping for the decline of America."

Ryan's passionate speech full of red meat for the conservative crowd was interrupted several times by standing ovations.

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Ryan said there is "not politician more skilled at striking heroic poses against imaginary adversaries."

"Nobody is better at rebuking nonexistent opinions," Ryan said. "Barack Obama does this all the time, and in this campaign we are calling him on it."

The vice presidential nominee also spoke extensively about abortion, an issue he doesn't mention on the campaign trail, but a topic crucial to the voters attending the event.

"When he tries to make big government sound reasonable and inclusive, President Obama likes to say, 'We're all in this together,'" Ryan said. "And here, too, he has another handy straw man."

"'We're all in this together' - it has a nice ring. For everyone who loves this country, it is not only true but obvious. Yet how hollow it sounds coming from a politician who has never once lifted a hand to defend the most helpless and innocent of all human beings, the child waiting to be born," Ryan continued.

Ryan then went after the president on the issue saying his administration has given "up any further pretense of moderation on this issue, and in complete disregard for millions of pro-life Democrats, President Obama has chosen to pander to the most extreme elements of his party."

He added that this administration "stands for an absolute, unqualified right to abortion - at any time, under any circumstances, and even at taxpayer expense."

"When you get past all of the President's straw men, what we believe is plain to state: These vital questions should be decided, not by the caprice of unelected judges, but by the conscience of the people and their elected representatives," Ryan said to cheers. " And in this good-hearted country, we believe in showing compassion for mother and child alike."

He was interrupted twice by protesters who were drowned out by chants of "U-S-A!" They were escorted out, the second one quite aggressively by the event's security.

Ryan also went after the president for the developments in the Middle East specifically the attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya.

"Amid all these threats and dangers, what we do not see is steady, consistent American leadership," Ryan said. "In the days ahead, and in the years ahead, American foreign policy needs moral clarity and firmness of purpose. Only by the confident exercise of American influence are evil and violence overcome."

The House Budget Chairman also gave a passionate defense of his running mate, more notable at this event filled with the most conservative part of the Republican electorate, voters not always the most supportive of the top of the ticket, especially during the long primary process.

"I'm not the only one who has told Mitt that maybe he needs to talk more about himself and his life," Ryan said, after rattling off his running mate's attributes. "It wouldn't hurt if voters knew more of those little things that reveal a man's heart and his character."

Ryan ended with an appeal to independents, possibly to those watching the address on television saying, "Whatever your political party, let's come together for the sake of our country. Let's put these divisive years behind us. Let's give this effort everything we have."