Ryan to values voters: "American foreign policy needs moral clarity"

WASHINGTON -- GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan assailed President Obama's foreign policy Friday, as violent anti-American protests spread across North Africa and the Middle East.

"Look across that region today, and what do we see? The slaughter of brave dissidents in Syria. Mobs storming American embassies and consulates. Iran four years closer to gaining a nuclear weapon. Israel, our best ally in the region, treated with indifference bordering on contempt by the Obama administration," Ryan decried during his address at the 'Values Voter Summit' in Washington Friday morning.

"Amid all these threats and dangers, what we do not see is steady, consistent American leadership. In the days ahead, and in the years ahead, American foreign policy needs moral clarity and firmness of purpose," he continued.

"Only by the confident exercise of American influence are evil and violence overcome. That is how we keep problems abroad from becoming crises. That is what keeps the peace. And that is what we will have in a Romney-Ryan administration."

The summit is an annual political conference for social conservatives put on by the Family Research Council.

Ryan's comments here come after a top adviser to Mitt Romney called the Obama Administration's struggle to define Egypt as an ally as "amateur hour."

In Egypt Friday there were new protests, with hundreds of people taking to the streets. Some were seen throwing rocks and clashing with Egyptian riot police blocks from the U.S. Embassy.

Demonstrations are now unfolding in more than half a dozen countries including Yemen and Tunisia, where U.S. Embassies were attacked.

A Defense Department spokesman says a fast Marine team is now on the ground in Sanaa as a "precautionary measure."

Ryan also let loose with a new line of attack Friday, calling out President Obama for trying to pull off what he calls "a classic straw man."

"If anyone dares to point out the facts of his record, why then, they're just being negative and pessimistic about the country. The new straw man is people hoping for the decline of America," Ryan claimed.

"The President has also been trying out sports comparisons. He compares this fourth year of his term to the fourth quarter of a basketball game," he added. "You can expect more of this, because if there's anything the man can do, it's talk a good game. The only problem is, the clock is running out and he still hasn't put any points on the board." "His whole case these days is basically asking us to forget what he promised four years ago, and focus instead on his new promises. That's a fast move to get around accountability. He made those ringing promises to get elected. Without them, he wouldn't be president. And now he acts as if it is unfair to measure his performance against his own words."

The Obama campaigned fired back at Ryan with a shot of their own.

"Today, speaking at a values summit, he unleashed a series of over-the-top, dishonest attacks against the President that once again reminded voters that he's just not ready for prime time. In the not too distant past, Mitt Romney and Congressman Ryan said they wanted a serious debate on substantive issues. We're still waiting," Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner said.