The highlight of the third presidential debate between Mr Romney and President Obama was undoubtedly this brilliant response by the President to Romney’s ludicrous point about the US having fewer ships in the navy now than any point since 1917.
It may just be a quick and scathing putdown in the context of a presidential debate, but it also illustrates an important difference between the candidates. Whilst Obama wants to spend money on extending healthcare coverage to millions more Americans, bring the deficit down and actively help the millions of unemployed and low waged Americans who continue to live in terrible conditions in the 21st century, Mitt Romney considers $4 trillion in tax cuts and $2 trillion in extra defence spending the more pressing issue.
So calling Romney out and demonstrating quite elegantly that more money is not what is needed in the defence department not only wins political points on the night, but will hopefully go some way to showing intelligent action is what’s needed from the leader of the free world, not tough talking and posturing. Because Romney was full of that in the debate. Time and again trying to position himself as the ‘tough’ guy who would never have to make the big decisions because his aggressive stance would prevent big decisions ever having to be made. Whilst Obama, he was keen to portray, was the the weak guy who let things like the Libya embassy attack happen, and whose inaction was letting hardliners gain traction in the Middle East.
The fact Obama was the president who finally ‘got’ Osama Bin Laden and saw Gaddafi toppled is of course the minor flaw in Romney’s posturing position. That he reckons he needs to throw $2 trillion dollars at the military to feel he can approach foreign affairs on an equal footing to Obama though, is I think the greatest testament to President Obama’s four years in office.