Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan today leveled one of the sharpest critiques yet of the Obama administration's position on abortion in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.
The Wisconsin Representative played to his audience here, arguably getting his strongest response from the Christian-dominated crowd when he claimed that sentiments from President Barack Obama on togetherness are disingenuous because he has "never once lifted a hand" to defend the unborn.
"'We're all in this together' - it has a nice ring. For everyone who loves this country, it is not only true, but obvious," Ryan said. "Yet how hollow it sounds coming from a politician who has never once lifted a hand to defend the most helpless and innocent of all human beings, the child waiting to be born."
Ryan continued, "In the Clinton years, the stated goal was to make abortion 'safe, legal and rare.' But that was a different time and a different president. Now, apparently, the Obama-Biden ticket stands for an absolute, unqualified right to abortion - at any time, under any circumstances and even at taxpayer expense."
Ryan has been one of the leading anti-abortion voices in the House and was one of the chief co-sponsors in 2011, along with embattled GOP Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.
"When you get past all of the president's straw men, what we believe is plain to state: These vital questions should be decided, not by the caprice of unelected judges, but by the conscience of the people and their elected representatives. And in this good-hearted country, we believe in showing compassion for mother and child alike."
Ryan also launched his main attack on the Democrats' health care law through the prism of abortion issues, by evoking last spring's controversy over Health and Human Services Department language that restricted funds to religious institutions if they did not provide women's health services such as contraception.
The administration - in response to concerns, mainly from the Catholic Church - tweaked the policy so that contraceptives would be provided to women straight from their insurers instead of religious institutions, such as Catholic hospitals or university health centers.
"You would be hard-pressed to find another group in America that does more to serve the health of women and their babies than the Catholic Church and Catholic Charities. And now, suddenly, we have Obamacare bureaucrats presuming to dictate how they will do it," Ryan said to cheers. "As Gov. Romney has said, this mandate is not a threat and insult to one religious group - it is a threat and insult to every religious group. ... And I can assure you, when Mitt Romney is elected, we will get to work - on day one - to repeal that mandate and all of Obamacare."
On January 3, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., raises her right hand as her son Henry messes up her hair while Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., delivers the ceremonial swearing-in in the Old Senate Chamber. Gillibrand's other son Theodore, lower right, looks on.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.