This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 12, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: "On the Record" today traveled to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to talk one-on-one with GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, nice to see you.
REP. PAUL RYAN, GOP VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Great to be back with you. Welcome home. It's good to be home, isn't it?
VAN SUSTEREN: It is nice. And today, you had a big crowd at town hall, all the sort of local people here in Green Bay. I thought it was -- as you started it, you started talk about foreign policy, about what happened in Libya.
RYAN: Yes. Right.
VAN SUSTEREN: There are early signs -- just signs -- that the attack was planned. Of course, it was 9/11 and on territory belonging to the United States, a consulate.
VAN SUSTEREN: If you were vice president working with a President Romney, what would you be thinking today about it?
RYAN: Well, I'd want to get to the bottom of it, number one. Number two, I would not speak in equivocal terms. I disagree with the original statements that the embassy put out, that the administration put out in Cairo sympathizing with the people who were storming the embassy.
We should stand up for our values. We should stand up for our free speech rights. And so I think that statement was wrong. And the administration was right to walk it back after they stood had by that statement a couple of times.
Now, what happened in Benghazi afterwards -- we've lost four of our diplomats. Our ambassador was killed. This is a tragedy. This is outrageous. And of all the things we need in a moment like this going forward is we need peace through strength.
Our adversaries who are tempted to test us need to know that America is strong militarily, that we're not going to have these devastating defense cuts that I think questions the resolve and the strength of our military.
And our president needs to speak with force and clarity for our principles.
VAN SUSTEREN: That sort of mixes several issues. One is -- is how you achieve peace through strength.
VAN SUSTEREN: Two, we have this issue of sequestration.
VAN SUSTEREN: And three, Afghanistan -- what are we going to do about Afghanistan? So do you want to sort of pick off each one?
RYAN: Sure. So Peace through strength -- what we mean is don't gut the military. The president, don't forget, gave us a big cut to the military, $478 billion, which we think goes past the bone, compromises readiness, force strength. We need to give our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines the equipment they need to do their job as safely as possible.
Sequestration -- I know you've talked about this. It's kind of a wonky word. We passed the legislation in the House -- I authored it -- to prevent it from happening by cutting government spending elsewhere. There's a lot of waste in Washington. Let's get after that. Now, there's waste in the Pentagon. We definitely have to go after that.
But this goes far past that. And doing this, by having these reckless defense cuts coming down the pike, that's coming under President Obama's lack of leadership or his proposals, that weakens us. That is not peace through strength.
So we believe that that's wrong. We would do that differently.
With respect to Afghanistan, we believe and agree with the 2014 transformation, but we also think if our generals, our commanding generals are saying, Give us the force strength we need throughout the fighting season, then they ought to be given that because if you have a troop drawdown in the middle of a fighting season, in September, my -- our fear is if you're giving them the same objective, the same counterinsurgency strategy, but taking people out while we're getting shot at, that I fear makes us more vulnerable.
So we have issues with the way the Obama administration is prosecuting it on some of these decisions. We support the 2014 transformation.
VAN SUSTEREN: In the event you become vice president and Governor Romney becomes president, you inherit wherever we are...
RYAN: That's right.
VAN SUSTEREN: ... in the -- in the transition of Afghanistan. So Assuming that you are vice president and he's president, what do you do at that point?
RYAN: Well, we stick with the 2014 transition period. And then 2013 is the time where we reassess what the post-2014 posture looks like. That's something we've been saying all along. That's what any administration's going to have to do, which is we have this timeline of 2014. We agree with that timeline. We're moving toward that.
But we have to spend 2013 assessing our what is our posture because the goal here, Greta, is to continue to deny a safe haven for al Qaeda and related groups so that they don't have staging grounds and the means of acquiring weapons and money to come and attack us again.
VAN SUSTEREN: Are we safer now than when President Obama took office?
RYAN: Well, I think because of the drone strikes, because of killing Usama bin Laden, because of the Bush administration's prosecution on the war on terror, we are safer, but I would say it's kind of a mixed record.
I really think, by gutting defense like the president is doing, that risks -- those risks are unpalatable because what it does is it tells our adversaries that we're weakening, that we're reducing our strength of our military.
And I think you'll have more foreign policy adventurism. I also think the Iran policy by this administration has been woefully inadequate. We are at a place where they are 90 percent of the way toward getting a nuclear weapon.
VAN SUSTEREN: What would (INAUDIBLE) though? I mean, it's, like, you know, this has been a troubling thing for the world. What would you do?
RYAN: Well, I think -- I've been working on increasing and boosting of sanctions for quite a while in Congress. The Obama administration was brought kicking and screaming to putting in these tough sanctions. They've equivocated on these sanctions.