Amb. Rice: Paul Ryan's criticism of Obama's foreign policy is "baseless"

(CBS News) United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice said Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's recent criticisms of President Obama's foreign policy are "empty and baseless."

"With respect to what I think is a very empty and baseless charge of weakness, let's be plain. I think American people know the record very well," Rice said on "Face the Nation" Sunday, pointing to al Qaeda being "decimated" and the end of the Iraq war.

While campaigning over the weekend, Ryan blamed the president for an eruption of violence that killed four American diplomatic workers in Benghazi, saying, "If we project weakness, they come. If we are strong, our adversaries will not test us and our allies will respect us."

Rice countered, "The American people expect in times of challenge overseas our leaders to be unified and come together and be steadfast and steady and calm and responsible. That's certainly what President Obama has been."

Rice said that at the United Nations, representatives from other countries "view us as a partner. They view us as somebody they want to work with, [and] they view President Obama as somebody they trust."

On the attacks in Benghazi, Rice said the U.S. has no evidence proving that the violent protest were premeditated.

"We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned," Rice told host Bob Schieffer.

Rice said "spontaneous protests" began outside the Benghazi consulate after demonstrations erupted in Cairo about an anti-Islam movie trailer posted online.

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"It looks like extremists elements joined in that effort with heavy weapons... and it spun from there into something much, much more violent," Rice said.

Her assessment differs from Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf, who said earlier on "Face the Nation" that the evidence "leaves us with no doubt" that the attack was pre-planned.

"It was planned, definitely, it was planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their arrival," Magariaf said.

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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