RICHMOND, Va. — Mitt Romney called out Vice President Joe Biden on Friday for saying during the vice presidential debate that he was unaware that U.S. diplomatic officials in Libya had requested additional security before the attack that claimed the lives of four Americans, including an ambassador.
Earlier this week, State Department officials testified in Congress that they had requested additional protection.
“He’s doubling down on denial,” Romney told about 3,300 supporters at a sunny outdoor rally in a parking lot here. “And we need to understand exactly what happened as opposed to just have people brush this aside. When the vice president of the United States directly contradicts the testimony — sworn testimony — of State Department officials, American citizens have a right to know just what’s going on. And we’re going to find out.”
The administration has been facing persistent questions about its handling of the terrorist attack on a consulate in Benghazi. Romney previously criticized President Obama’s campaign for accusing the Republican ticket of politicizing the tragedy. The GOP nominee was slapped by liberals and fellow conservatives for a hasty statement he put out before the facts of the attack were fully known.
Before criticizing Biden, Romney praised his running mate Paul D. Ryan’s performance in Thursday night’s debate.
“There was one person on the stage last night who was thoughtful and respectful, steady and poised, the kind of person you want to turn to in a crisis, and that was the next vice president of the United States, Paul Ryan,” Romney said to cheers. “There was also one person on the stage who actually when asked what he would do to get the economy growing again had an answer… The other candidate of course just attacked. The American people are looking for answers, not attacks.”
Romney said that while Ryan laid out their five-point plan to create jobs, Biden was a defender of the status quo, which has left 23 million people out of work, one in six Americans in poverty and 47 million Americans on food stamps.
“This is not something that is a statistic. These are real families, these are people with a real life and are concerned about their future,” he said. “And that’s why Paul Ryan and I care about each and every American that’s out of work and we’re going to do everything in our power to get Americans back to work again.”