And now, the most-talked-about exchange from last night's debate.
As conveyed in the transcript:
But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You -- 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 -- (laughter) -- 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 ships. It’s -- it’s what are our capabilities.
The "horses and bayonets" line was the most-tweeted of the night. Obama's argument was clear: The needs of the military change and evolve over time. Ships are less necessary now than in 1916 because we have planes, rockets. Problems change, and so do the tools we use to address them.
But just as quickly as Obama made that argument, partisans lined up to defend Romney, arguing in favor of bayonets. Here's the chair of the Republican National Committee.
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) October 23, 2012