Monday night President Obama responded to Mitt Romney's criticism of the U.S. Navy's decreasing amount of ships by saying, "Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military's changed." A Twitter meme was born.
One of the many one-liners to come out of Monday night's debate, the "horses and bayonets" line resonated immediately with the blogosphere. Within seconds of Obama uttering the line during the foreign policy debate, the topic was trending on Twitter.
Someone started a Twitter account @HorsesAndBayonets which attracted 34,200 followers at time of publication. Monday night also saw the formation of the Horses and Bayonets Facebook Group, at 391 members.
According to Google's politics team, searches for bayonets jumped 7,215 percent during the debate, as The Hill writes.
How did the zinger come about? Answering Romney’s familiar critique about the Navy having fewer ships today than under past presidents, the L.A. Times notes, Obama said Romney “hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works.”
"Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets 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," he said. "And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we're counting ships. It's — it's what are our capabilities."
Celebrities were quick to jump on the social media meme-to-be. As Atlantic notes, "Fact: Iran has been stockpiling horses & bayonets," tweeted Dane Cook. "We wouldn't have less horses and bayonets if blacksmiths and bayonet makers had a public union behind them," quipped Drew Carrey. "If Romney's military budget includes bayonets, it better also include tri-cornered hats," said Seth McFarlane.
It wasn't the first time Obama attacked Romney's outlook on overseas conflicts. Obama began by criticizing Romney’s description of Russia as a "No. 1 geopolitical foe."
Obama said, “And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War's been over for 20 years. But, governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s."
Romney was quick to tell the president he was trying to divert attention from his own record.
"Attacking me is not an agenda," Romney said early at the debate, at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., in response to Obama's criticism, as MSNBC writes.