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Ryan slams Obama on Middle East, debt in Colo.

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan on Wednesday tore into President Barack Obama over the protests in the Middle East, saying that "it looks like Tehran in 1979, but in about a dozen capitals throughout the world."

"You can turn on the TV and look and see how the Obama foreign policy is blowing up in our faces," Ryan told a crowd at a lawnmower-manufacturing facility in Fort Collins.

The Wisconsin congressman was referring to the Iranian revolution that led to the storming of the U.S. Embassy and the months-long hostage crisis that helped doom President Carter's re-election hopes.

In Colorado Springs, Ryan continued the foreign policy talk, adding promises not to cut military spending. El Paso County is home of the Air Force Academy and Fort Carson, and Ryan's promises for a strong national defense met with cheers.

"We're going to rebuild this military and stop apologizing for the greatness of this country," Ryan said.

An avid outdoorsman, Ryan told the Fort Collins crowd he'd been coming to Colorado to hike, climb, ski and hunt since he was a child. But his Fort Collins appearance and one later in Colorado Springs reflect the state's position as a battleground in the presidential election.

Ryan criticized Obama's economic performance, saying noting Obama came into office with Democrats controlling both houses of Congress.

"The Obama economic agenda failed not because it was stopped but because it passed," Ryan said at both stops.

One Fort Collins questioner raised the memory of John McCain's weak debate performances against Obama in 2008 asked whether Mitt Romney would be "forceful" in the upcoming presidential debates.

"Absolutely," Ryan said. "One little difference between then and now: President Obama has a record. And President Obama has a record and a string of broken promises."

Another said she'd been on welfare for 20 years and that her biweekly check of $316 is not enough to let her get off the program. She asked Ryan how he'd break welfare dependency.

"You need a growing economy," Ryan replied, adding that he and Romney hope to "streamline" job-training programs to make them more effective. He repeated the oft-discredited contention that Obama weakened welfare reform and raised the specter of a growing government social safety net.

"We run the risk of more able-bodied Americans becoming complacent and dependent on government," Ryan said.

Ryan said Obama also is ignoring the mounting federal debt load. He displayed slides showing the burden growing to more than double the size of the American economy in years to come and said that would wreck the country's financial health.

"This is the most predictable economic crisis we've ever had and the president is ducking," Ryan said. "He is kicking the can down the road."

Associated Press writer Kristen Wyatt contributed to this report from Colorado Springs.