Romney hits Obama on defense in Virginia Beach

In front of a crowd in Virginia Beach, home to a large military community, Romney said he would restore spending defense cuts that are part of sequestration.

“Like bayonets, a modern Navy also will save lives, because a strong American military, so strong no one would think of testing it, so strong people would rather meet us on the bargaining table than on the battle field — that is essential to us and the world,” Romney said. “Unlike the president, I will restore that funding to the military.”

The bayonet line is a reference to a comment Obama used to counter Romney’s assertion that the Navy is smaller than at any time since 1917. Obama said that, like ships, increased technology has decreased the use of bayonets and horses.

Romney’s attack has been used before in the battleground state. The Romney camp began running ads in the state last month calling Obama’s statement at the debate a “flippant” remark that disregards military job loss.

On Thursday, Romney also hit Obama on potential defense cuts that are looming at the end of the year.

“If the president is reelected, you are going to see about a trillion dollars in cuts, and that means a smaller Air Force and older Air Force,” Romney said. “Our Air Force is older and smaller than any time since it was founded in 1947.”

Obama has said that sequestration — which cuts defense and domestic spending and was agreed upon by a bipartisan majority — will not take effect and will likely be averted in the lame-duck session.

Following the rally, the Obama campaign questioned the voracity of Romney’s claims and said his plan lacked specifics.

“Mitt Romney’s closing argument to Virginia voters is telling of the type of president he’d be,” the campaign said in a statement. “He launched a series of fact-challenged attacks against the President, like falsely claiming he supports the automatic defense cuts in the sequester, but failed to outline real plans of his own, including how he’d pay for a $2 trillion arbitrary increase in defense spending that military leaders haven’t asked for.”

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