In Mitt Romney’s new ad, “Highest Responsibility,” he doubles down on the way out of date comments he made in Monday night’s debate that opened the door for Obama’s now trending “we also have fewer horses and bayonets” retort.
Despite the fact that Politifact gave Romney’s claim a pants on fire rating way back in January and Factcheck said it’s not true (in fact, we have more ships now than we did in Bush’s last four years), Romney’s ad claims “Despite what President Obama says, our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917. It’s the highest responsibility of the President of the United States to maintain the safety of the American people. Mitt Romney will not make our future less certain by cutting our military.”
Watch Romney’s ad here:
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said, “(t)he ships we have today are far more capable than any ships we’ve ever had, and comparing them to the old fleet in terms of numbers is sort of like comparing iPhones to the telegraph.”
The President Obama said in Monday’s debate, “Governor Romney hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works.”
Here’s what the President said in the debate:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “The budget we’re talking about is not reducing our military spending, it’s maintaining it, but I think Governor Romney 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 has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them, we have these ships that go under water, nuclear submarines, and so the question is not a game of battleship where we’re counting ships, 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 in our troops that also makes sure that our veterans have the kind of support that they need when they come home, and that is not reflected in the kind of budget that you’re putting forward because it just doesn’t work. We visited the web site quite a bit, and it still doesn’t work.”
Romney’s claims about the Navy were rated pants on fire by Politifact in January of this year:
“In recent years, the number of Navy and Air Force assets has sunk to levels not seen in decades, although the number of ships has risen slightly under Obama. However, a wide range of experts told us it’s wrong to assume that a decline in the number of ships or aircraft automatically means a weaker military… Thanks to the development of everything from nuclear weapons to drones, comparing today’s military to that of 60 to 100 years ago presents an egregious comparison of apples and oranges. Today’s military and political leaders face real challenges in determining the right mix of assets to deal with current and future threats, but Romney’s glib suggestion that today’s military posture is in any way similar to that of its predecessors in 1917 or 1947 is preposterous… Pants on Fire.” [Tampa Bay Times, Politifact, 1/18/12]
Factcheck also ruled Romney’s claim “not true” in January, plenty of time for even the Romney campaign to get the telegraph that indeed, they are wrong. “Romney claimed that “our Navy is now smaller than any time since 1917.” That’s not true — at least as measured by the number of active-duty ships. There are more Navy ships now than during the last four years of George W. Bush’s presidency.”
The Romney campaign will not be dictated to by fact checkers. So onward they fight the battles of yesteryear, pants on fire, bayonets in hand.
Take it from Mitt Romney, a foreign policy novice with no experience in counterterrorism or combat, if you want to be safe against Iran’s nuclear capabilities, base your counterterrorism and defense strategies on the way things were 60-100 years ago.
When busted, down down.
Update: As with all things Romney, it appears that there might be a monetary motive in his seeming inability to keep history straight.
Image: The Daily What, Pundit Kitchen