President Obama was on his way to victory in the third debate, but it was the horses and bayonets moment that turned the debate into an Obama blowout.
Here is the video:
ROMNEY: Our Navy is old — excuse me, our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now at under 285. We’re headed down to the low 200s if we go through a sequestration. That’s unacceptable to me.
I want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our Navy. Our Air Force is older and smaller than at any time since it was founded in 1947.
We’ve changed for the first time since FDR — since FDR we had the — we’ve always had the strategy of saying we could fight in two conflicts at once. Now we’re changing to one conflict. Look, this, in my view, is the highest responsibility of the President of the United States, which is to maintain the safety of the American people.
And I will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars, which is a combination of the budget cuts the president has, as well as the sequestration cuts. That, in my view, is making — is making our future less certain and less secure.
OBAMA: Bob, I just need to comment on this.
First of all, the sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen.
The budget that we are talking about is not reducing our military spending. It is maintaining it.
But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works.
You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.
And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we’re counting slips. It’s what are our capabilities. And so when I sit down with the Secretary of the Navy and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we determine how are we going to be best able to meet all of our defense needs in a way that also keeps faith with our troops, that also makes sure that our veterans have the kind of support that they need when they come home.
That ladies and gentlemen was the moment that will have people talking tomorrow. One of the signs that Mitt Romney is possibly a losing candidate has been his uncanny ability to be a negative meme generator for his campaign in these debates. Romney has been using that Navy line for months on the campaign trail, and Obama was ready for it.
The line has been nonsense from the very second that Romney first uttered it months ago, and Obama made him look like a fool.
Make no mistake about it, Obama was strong from the very moment that he stepped on the stage. However, the difference between a win and a romp in these debates is moments like horses and bayonets. Romney went from the perception that he was a foreign policy lightweight with voters to actually confirming to voters that he is not ready to be Commander in Chief.
President Obama romped through this debate, but horses and bayonets was a snapshot that will stick voters’ minds. In that one moment, Obama was able to use the personal traits that people already like about him as a weapon that he used to devastate Mitt Romney.
Obama was going to win this debate, but that one moment turned a victory into domination.