October 23rd, 2012
10:50 AM ET

'Horses and bayonets' shows Obama's debate strategy

(CNN) – Perhaps it only makes sense that a candidate who prepared for a presidential debate near Colonial Williamsburg would slam Mitt Romney's plan for more Navy ships with the phrase "horses and bayonets."

President Barack Obama's quip – meant to make the point that modern warfare doesn't require the type of equipment it did in the past – appeared part of a larger strategy of casting his opponent as stuck in a time warp on important issues. And Republicans, seeing an opening, are making sure shipbuilders just down the road from the president' Virginia prep location are aware of the president's suggestion their industry is a thing of the past.

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Topics: 2012 Election

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soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Jami

    Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress
    Dated 18 October 2012-This is not an outdated document. And is official.

    Navy's explaination of shortfalls. Romney's jump to comparing our fleet today those in the early 1900's made him sound archaic. However, the request is real. What the Chief of Staffs of the services request is not always what the Secs and Pres approve however. But this document is clear, the Navy will experience shortfalls of various kinds of "ships."

    October 23, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  2. Alex

    Has Obama even seen a horse or a bayonet?

    October 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Howard

      After Obama spent a year, plus 150 million dollars, trying to demonize Mitt Romney ... in the debates, the American people discovered what an honorable, intelligent, decent man Romney actually is ... and, after the Libya debacle, and the Fast & Furious tragedy ... the results were Obama lies, cover ups, and many innocent victims murdered.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
      • JJD

        Are you f*ing kidding me!?!!!? Romney an honorable guy. What is so funny about this comment is that you are probably saying this with a straight face. Myth Romney stands for NOTHING and falls for EVERYTHING. I can list at least 10 instances where he changed positions on his own policies!

        October 24, 2012 at 3:36 am |
    • rangerluna

      A horse and a bayonet beats a camel and a spear any day!

      October 23, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  3. Kool-Aid Police

    Ha! Obama knows nothing about military equipment yet I'm sure CNN wil claim he's an expert.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • ArtsEyes

      Hey Kool-Aid Police.... ( You do have the right name; stop drinkig the "Kool-Aid")
      It is just so sad that some poeple just do listen to what is said but will hear what is not said... Obama said we have fewer 'Horses and bayonets' . Which if you knew anything about DoD we do have "Fewer"... So learn to hear for reading is just to hard to do sometimes...

      October 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • MPA

      Apparently neither does Dumbney, who thinks we still have coal and steam driven Naval ships from 1917. HAR! HAR! HAR!

      October 23, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  4. Dean

    Obama...unpresidential, as usual. I think there's a community in Chicago that needs to be organized. That's about all Obama is qualified to do.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  5. acdcguy

    yea, Obama is 100% class, real Presidential ......... embarrassing is what he is………

    October 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  6. Reggie19

    Obama is a total fake. Give me romney and Ryan anyday. Let us, the voters, send Obama back to Chicago in November/12 by rejecting his failed policies. Obama has lowered our American standards especially the highest office in our country. Time for him to go......thanks but no thanks for your services Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  7. Obie

    all right felas, if u read the article it did say something about ship biulders in virginia and republicans. The President is trying to keep the money for more important issues while the republicans wants to throw it(money) at their friends.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  8. Sharon Brown

    Don't hate!!!!! Romney would start World War III based on what he said last night. I'm putting my money on PRESIDENT OBAMA didn't your parents teach you about respect? Mittens is clueless and it showed!

    October 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  9. WhatWhoWhere

    All this trash talk about Obama in previous posts but in what way was Romney's position any different than Obama's in yesterdays' debate... if anything it was a confirmation that Obama has been doing the right thing in foreign policy... The bayonet comment is relevant when the opponent's campaign is loosely based on slinging out of context statistics without understanding core strategy... i like Romney's stats on economy and they are meaningful but he needs to be quiet and quit stepping in huge stinky piles when he throws numbers out without understanding strategy. It starts to re-enforce he will say absolutely anything to get elected regardless of his own beliefs or knowledge.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  10. ArtsEyes

    Hey Kool-Aid Police.... ( You do have the right name; stop drinkig the "Kool-Aid")
    It is just so sad that some poeple just do listen to what is said but will hear what is not said... Obama said we have fewer 'Horses and bayonets' . Which if you knew anything about DoD we do have "Fewer"... So learn to hear for reading is just to hard to do sometimes...

    October 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  11. DEcember 2012

    GOOD GRIEF.

    SO IF OBAMA WAS 'UNPRESIDENTIAL', WHAT DOES THAT MAKE MITT ROMNEY WHO PRACTICALLY ENDORSED PRESIDENT OBAMA'S FOREIGN POLICY? DOES THAT MAKE HIM A WANNABE 'UNPRESEDENTIAL'?

    October 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Mo

      Obama has mimicked Bush"s policy with the exception of attempting to trial terrorist in New York and refer to the Ft. Hood massacre as "work place violence".

      October 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  12. Robert

    Having just retired from the U.S. Navy after 27 years of service, I can say that both the President and Governor Romney are correct. Yes, the President’s statement that the ships of today are far more technologically advanced than the ships in service with the fleet in 1916 is true, and one Arleigh Burke class destroyer could win the battle of Jutland by herself. Governor Romney is correct in his assertion that the Navy needs more ships to meet its obligations worldwide. If you look at the operational tempo of today’s Navy, you’ll find that fewer ships means longer deployment times (8 months vice the traditional 6) with less time to conduct required maintenance and repairs on the ships, and less time for the crews to train prior to deployment. The result is a fleet that is worn out from deferred maintenance and crews who are overtaxed and unable to meet all mission requirements. Having more ships means more flexibility, a proper inter-deployment training and maintenance cycle, and more time for the Sailors to train and prepare for deployment, as well as the ability to spend time with their families.

    October 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  13. It's about time

    Romney endorses Obama!!

    October 23, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  14. DM

    What is interesting is that the special forces use horses and bayonets today. Obama just looked unpresidential with the comment.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Jordan

      And people like this who take things out of context without realizing what they are saying embarass themselves.

      Obama said we have "fewer" horses and bayonets than we did in 1916. The army has stopped issuing bayonets. Special forces dont count because they do what they want to do when they want to do it based on what they are doing. Only the marines still issue bayonets. Do some research.

      October 23, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  15. Brandon

    I think it's funny that all Republicans have to say after that debate is that Obama wasn't presidential. The fact is that with this particular quip, The President made Mitt Romney look exactly as clueless as he is on the Military and Foreign policy as a whole. Obama didn't diss shipbuilders (since shipbuilders also build Aircraft Carriers and Submarines). He didn't say anything that was untrue about horses or bayonets... he just said we have less of them. It's true, as since 1916 the Army has dropped bayonets. I really don't think I have to mention why our military has less horses but I will anyway. Uhem... J-E-E-P-S. All I see is a bunch of right-wingers crying! Hey guys, Democrats are having a pool party in your tears right now!

    October 23, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  16. rwb1956

    He said"fewer horses and bayonets". But that doesn't make any diffrence to some people does it?

    October 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • bnakka

      Really? Dude enough with the apology. The president never said fewer.... he clearly said they don't use them anymore..... But that doesn't make any difference to you and most like you does it???

      October 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
      • rwb1956

        Actually, I read the transcript of the debate before I posted.

        October 24, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Mo

      He also said that gasoline cost a third of what it does today when he came to office...because of the economic collapse? It proves that he has no economic sense and it shows. He is the country's first "Afro-American" president and it bodes well for the country. It shows we have a sense of fair play and tolerance. However, the simple truth is that he has not done the job...and "Forward" means edging over a financial cliff.

      October 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Ranger Luna

      A horse and a bayonet beats a camel and a spear any day!

      October 23, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  17. Mo

    In war, numbers do count. As for horses and bayonets. Horses are used in Afghanistan and Marines still use bayonets. Snippy remarks to enlighten the sheeple.

    October 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  18. twyce4

    If you people vote for ROBME AND LYING then you will get the same thing that brought us here in the 1st place.
    How soon some of you people for got that who ever voted for bush voted for war and so that makes you part of our country down fall,and now that the Prez has start getting things stright you wanna switch to a weather vein ,if you lost your job voting 4 bush you got what you wanted ,Look at the Bigger Picture America has to be rebuilt again and my pass 3 years and some has been better and i am middle class , lol vote 4 robme and you will get the same as bush.,but some hate obama so much that mitt robme can be jerry sandusky and guess what you would vote 4 him over obama lol
    WAKE UP AMERICA

    October 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • jerry

      do you have any idea what brought us into this mess in the first place? It was career politicians like obama and chicago mob...not Romney, but then how would you know, it is easier to take the leftist line and wish in one hand and ....in the other and hope for hope and change that never comes for you..

      October 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
      • DEcember 2012

        8 YEARS OF BUSH. THAT'S A HECK OF A CAREER.

        October 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
      • Jordan

        Completely wrong. What got us into this was a man who reigned as president for 8 years, started with a 4t budge in the positive and drove it to 10t in the negative, with policies that ran up till 2010. Do more research, stop believing everything you hear from the GOP and/or fox

        October 23, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Vet33yrs

      Twytce4, you are still blaming bush? Answer these questions (to you self as truthful answers are obvious). Is economy better or worse than four years ago? Did we lose more during GW's 8 years or B.Hussein's 4 years? Are republicans and democrats working more closely than four years ago? Have race relations improved or worsened over last four years? Do we have more debt or less debt? Is unemployment (real) lower or higher? Have gas prices improved or worsened? Have we improved the illegal immigration situation? Is the mideast better or worse off? Can you honestly say that the stimulus has solved anything? Have we had a budget plan? Is health care better or worse or unaffected by the trillions spent? Do we really have an effective exit plan for Afghanistan? NOW – you know the answers without discussion. I haven't even discussed the moral issues: I do not want to pay for someone else's $1,000 a year safe-sex plan. Doing away with DADT has caused many problems within the military. Same sex marriage (what's next man and goat)? Have a nice day. Good luck voting with a clear conscience.

      October 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  19. Carol

    THE OBAMA BAM! Spot on & laying down the hammer, he was! While Mitt kept smiling like a child who has been caught with his hand in the candy jar – Mitt does not look like presidential material.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  20. Carol

    Not only does he look like presidential material, he does not speak or act like one either.

    October 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  21. jerry

    and this arrogent rant from obaby impressed somone, when our secretary of defense said the 500,000,000 to 1,000,000,000,000 cut to defense would destroy our military? This is COOL-AID and some of you drank it...and it will make you sick in the end, and that is a promise! And, by the way the sequester that obaby said would not happen was created by him and him alone, read the recent book which details the debt limit negotiations and you will learn who is to blame...yes, the snake barry/barack H obama...who was barry Soerto, then barry obama, and finally barack obama...and God knows who next.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • DEcember 2012

      WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? DIDN'T YOUR ILK SAY GOVERNMENT DOES NOT CREATE JOBS? I WOULD BET THAT IS WHY REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS WANT US TO GO OVER THE CLIFF.

      October 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
      • jerrylax

        you dont make sense....not rational.

        October 23, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
      • DEcember 2012

        LETS SEE..

        THE PRESIDENT WANTS SEQUESTRATION BECAUSE HE REALLY WANTS TO HURT HIS CHANCES IN PLACES LIKE VIRGINIA, OR THE REPUBLICANS WANTS SEQUESTRATION BECAUSE THEY WANT TO HURT THE PRESIDENT IN PLACES LIKE VIRGINIA. GEE, I WONDER WHICH OF THESE IS MORE 'RATIONAL'.

        THE REPUBLICAN PARTY DOES NOT BELIEVE GOVERNMENT CREATES JOBS EVEN WHEN SO MANY GOVERNMENT JOBS ARE ON THE LINE BY SEQUESTRATION. MAYBE YOU ALL CONTRACTED ROMNEYSIA AND FORGOT ABOUT THAT STANCE.

        THE PRESIDENT HAS ALREADY STATED IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. AT LEAST SOMEONE IS CONFIDENT, THE REST OF US ARE NOT SO SURE.

        October 23, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  22. SexyJohn

    I would say that I agree with Romney's assertion that there are many dangers facing the United States. That is even more reason NOT to have an inexperienced President leading the American people at a time like this. Romney has no experience in negotiating with foreign leaders. He has no patience or respect. The way he acted at the final debate was a farce in order to attract women voters back. He tried to seem calm and compassionate, yet had trouble allowing others to speak, often speaking over them. As President, within the first 3 months, there would be no doubt that he would trigger WW3, just due to his lack of respect, and his closed mind when it comes to bringing everyone to the table. Secondly, his history of lies during the campaign, will follow him to the White House, rendering no respect or trust from other leaders of the free world.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  23. rudyG

    The hilarious part is that anyone who knows anything about naval warfare knows that aircraft carriers and submarines are not used IN LIEU of surface ships; they are used WITH, and complement one another. So, Obama's comment is like everything he does – smoke and mirrors – sounds good but doesn't work.

    October 23, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • DEcember 2012

      NAME ONE COUNTRY THAT HAS A NAVY THAT CAN GO TOE TO TOE WITH OURS. GIVE US ONE REASON WHY WE SHOULD BE BUILDING MORE SHIPS IN THIS DAY AND AGE.

      October 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
      • EO

        @ DEcember 2012 – What ships do you suppose are used in patrolling the world's oceans for piracy?

        October 24, 2012 at 1:02 am |
      • CorruptedSnail

        Our Navy should be large becuase of the massive amopunts of humaniterian aid it gives other countries. The Philippines would have suffered greatly had our navy not been there. It's the same thing with Haiti. They also do a lot of work in helping Africa. The thing is that our military is not just a military, it is a global force for good. You must also remeber that cutting our military means that there will be even more people out of work, including half of my family. I am also planning on joining, so that would take my job away. Please dont do that to me. I will need a job when I graduate next year and thrown out into the real world.

        October 24, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • rwb1956

      Gee, another right wing expert in everything! Archie Bunker lives!

      October 23, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
      • jerrylax

        why the racism from you? Why?

        October 23, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • jerrylax

      obama couldn't pronounce Corpsman correctly...so what could you expect from this moron? He's a one trick pony and he did his cheap trick...now it's time to leave...bye bye barry/barrack.

      October 23, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
      • DEcember 2012

        CAN YOU SAY 'NUCULAR'?

        October 23, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • concerned

      Do you know how many ships we are talking about in this conversation, how many we had in 1916 and how many we have today? check it out: http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/org9-4.htm#1910

      and do you have any idea what the capability of one ship then and one ship now is? The last thing we need to fight terrorist s today is a fleet of ships.

      May the right wing sink as soon as possible

      October 24, 2012 at 12:19 am |
  24. MPA

    LOL! At the desperate Cons who lauded when Romney went on the attack in the first debate, but complain about Obama going on the attack in the 3rd debate.

    Desperate times calls for desperate measures eh Conservatives? LOL!!

    October 23, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  25. Dan B

    Well DEcember, why don't we just get rid of our navy. And countries like China are comparable to us. The generals asked for 313, and we don't have enough. Those are the numbers of Obama's generals, not Romney's (although I hope in 4 months they will be Romney's generals) .

    October 23, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • DEcember 2012

      CHINA??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THE SAME CHINA THAT JUST GOT THEIR FIRST AIRCRAFT CARRIER AND IT WAS A SECOND HAND PIECE OF JUNK? THAT CHINA??

      COMPARE THE NUMBER OF SHIPS WE HAVE NOW FROM THE BUSH YEARS. YOU WILL BE IN FOR A SHOCK.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
      • jerrylax

        yes the China that is robbing you blind....and making you love it..you and your master. Ignorant fool.

        October 23, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  26. fhelms

    BREAKING NEWS! Obama, Biden and Peneta were meeting the night of the Liybian attack and received an email stating that it was a terrorist attack by Alqueda. They knew real-time this was going on and continued to lie about it for 2 weeks. Watch for the October surprise now! Obama will bomb Libya and state that he killed those responsible for the attack....

    October 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  27. Ranger Luna

    A horse and a bayonet beats a camel and a spear any day!

    October 23, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  28. Alan

    It is obvious Obama has never been in the military, does not understand the military, and has not even tried to understand the role of the military.

    The fact that he basically said that bayonets are obsolete proves he is a total ignorant President. They are still used and trained as an important fighting and survival tool.

    The fact he did not recognize the importance of our Navy, In Today's World is unbelievable. The number of ships today should be at least 20 times what we had in 1916. Why? Because we have interest in almost every continent, foreign country, and US Post. You cannot combat pirates with Carriers, you cannot navigate into hostile rivers and canals, and seas with Carriers, you need ships.

    Obama used Drones to watch the Libya Massacre , but he did not act, how about that protecting our US Citizens. Mark my word, if Obama is re-elected, we will be paying a tax to the UN for buying foreign goods, which will include oil and autos. Obama will totally support the Islam movements, Obama will move us to the next step of Socialism, which is the stepping stone to Communism.

    October 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  29. Concerend Citizen

    Hussein Obama's economic policies are going to take up back to 'Horses and bayonets'

    October 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
  30. Concerend Citizen

    MSNBC’s Morning Joe Crowd Boos 9 Year Old Girl for Supporting Mitt Romney
    --------
    This is how hateful democrats have become. ZERO tolerance for anything but their twisted radical agenda.

    October 23, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  31. JJD

    You vote Romney, he wins and you lose your job, well guess what...YOU DESERVED IT.

    October 24, 2012 at 3:38 am |
  32. iowaboy

    Obama "debates" like a 13 year old.

    October 24, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  33. This isn't r/conservative

    Since when did CNN comments become a circlejerk for ignorant conservatives...?

    October 24, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  34. karen

    I find that those who have nothing to add to the discussion reduce themselves to juvenile name calling.Stop listening to all the pundits and do your own reading and research. Don't let others do your thinking for you

    October 24, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  35. Lucas

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    October 30, 2012 at 3:29 am |