FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan criticized President Barack Obama on Wednesday over the protests in the Middle East, saying the region "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 1979 Iranian revolution that led to the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the 444-day hostage crisis that helped undermine President Jimmy Carter's administration.

Ryan continued to hammer Obama's foreign policy during a visit to Colorado Springs, home of the U.S. Air Force Academy and Fort Carson, and promised not to cut military spending. Earlier this year he voted in favor of automatic, across-the-board cuts in Pentagon spending in January as part of a bipartisan deficit-reduction agreement.

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

Ryan said Obama is ignoring the mounting federal debt. He displayed slides showing the burden growing to more than double the size of the American economy in years to come and predicted 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."

A questioner in Fort Collins cited Republican candidate John McCain's debate performances in 2008 and asked Ryan whether presidential candidate Mitt Romney would be "forceful" in the upcoming presidential debates. Ryan said "absolutely" and added: "One little difference between then and now: President Obama has a record, and President Obama has a record and a string of broken promises."

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

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