The president accused Gov. Romney of wanting to spend $2 trillion that the military does not want.
The American Enterprise Institute argues that the president’s assertion about Romney’s plan is false:
The president has repeatedly attacked Governor Romney’s plan to restore baseline military budgets to roughly 4 percent of domestic product as unnecessary spending that the Joint Chiefs of Staff don’t want. In the vice presidential debate, Joe Biden went even further, claiming it was the service leaders who “made the recommendation first” to make the latest round of cuts, which total almost $500 billion. “That’s a fact,” asserted the vice president.
No, it’s not.
AEI points out that the president suggested deep cuts to the military budget, and then reconfigured his military strategy to match his budget cuts, a plan that Defense Secretary Gates opposed. The Washington Post also pointed out that Obama’s plan makes some dubious assumptions and is at odds with other parts of his foreign policy.
The Post also rightly pointed out that Governor Romney is simply proposing to “fully fund the four-year plan laid out by the Defense Department.”
In other words: This “additional” spending previously was asked for by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and recommended to Congress by President Obama himself.
As commander-in-chief, President Obama has the prerogative to define U.S. defense strategy downward. But he does not have the prerogative to define defense facts. And he certainly should not hide behind the Joint Chiefs of Staff when he does so.