Ryan: Obama panders to Dem extremists with abortion position

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) issued his sharpest attack on President Obama's abortion stance since he became the Mitt Romney's running mate, accusing Obama on Friday of being further to the left than Bill Clinton on the issue — to the delight of the religious conservative audience.

Ryan said Obama had set up "straw man" arguments that Republicans didn't care about helping one another, then called him a hypocrite because of his abortion stance.

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"How hollow it sounds coming from a politician who has never lifted a hand to defend the most helpless and innocent of all human beings, the child waiting to be born," he said to a standing ovation from the audience at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. "Giving 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 then contrasted Obama's stance to Clinton's.

"In the Clinton years the stated goal was to make abortion safe, legal and rare," he said. "That was a different time and a different president. Now apparently the Obama-Biden ticket stands for an absolute, unqualified right to an abortion at any time, under any circumstance and even at taxpayers' expense."

Romney has largely steered clear of the issue of abortion, on which he has a complicated history after supporting abortion rights until less than a decade ago. Few at the Republican National Convention, including Ryan, brought it up. But in front of the crowd of religious conservative activists, Ryan focused in on the issue.

He also attacked Obama on his administration's requirement that all companies, including some religious institutions, include contraception coverage in their basic healthcare plans, arguing it was a "threat to every religious group" after invoking his Catholicism.

Ryan also ripped Obama on economic issues and foreign policy.

"Instead of dividing up the wealth our new president will get America creating wealth again," he said.

Obama's campaign fired back.

"Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan to be his running mate because he's the intellectual leader of the Republican Party. That leadership included a budget that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said failed a 'basic moral test,' " Obama spokesman Danny Kanner said in a statement. "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."

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