John Bolton, former U.N. ambassador and current Romney supporter, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal attacking the state of America’s military under President Obama’s leadership:
“The Navy has only 285 ships today, the fewest since World War I, and it is straining to uphold its unique global responsibilities. Our Air Force has only 39 fighter squadrons, fewer than half the number it had two decades ago.”
Mitt Romney has been making the same attack. During a Republican debate in South Carolina, he said this about President Obama’s record as commander in chief:
“Our Navy is smaller than it’s been since 1917. Our Air Force is smaller and older than any time since 1947.”
The problem with Bolton and Romney’s claims that the Air Force and Navy are weaker than they’ve been in decades: they’re outright lies. PolitiFact investigated the former governor’s claim and found it to be “meaningless,” giving it a “pants on fire” rating. In fact, the size of the Navy under President Obama is greater than during the Bush administration. William Stueck, a historian at the University of Georgia, adds that Romney’s comment doesn’t even “pass the giggle test.”
The truth: Former Secretary of Defense William Gates said that under President Obama the U.S. Navy is “the strongest it has ever been.” As for the Air Force, a Mitchell Institute study found that the Air Force’s current capabilities far exceed its capabilities at any other time in its history.
It’s not surprising that Mitt’s camp continues to display a blatant disregard for the truth. The only question is how low they’ll go.