Moments after the final presidential debate ended NBC's Brian Williams, on Monday, declared that Barack Obama came up with the line of the night. During NBC’s live post debate coverage the NBC Nightly News anchor told viewers: "We always try to look for the phrase or expression that will live forever out of these. Tonight has to be 'horses and bayonets.'"
Williams went on to call Obama’s snide comment "a very sharp comeback" to Mitt Romney. (video after the jump)
The following exchange was aired on NBC's live October 22 coverage of the final presidential debate:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: David Gregory, we always try to look for the phrase or expression that will live forever out of these. Tonight has to be "horses and bayonets." It was during an exchange where clearly the President's effort was to paint Governor Romney, paint the debate as a kind of a past versus future framing. It was specifically about the military, the Governor's assertion we have fewer ships as a Navy since, at any time since 1916. A very sharp comeback from the President.
DAVID GREGORY: Right, because a lot of this and what that spoke to was this commander-in-chief test. Our colleague Tom Brokaw likes to talk about voters watching an event like this and imagining either the President or his challenger as commander-in-chief in the Oval Office. Obviously a sitting president has already passed that threshold test. And I think you saw President Obama trying to make it very clear that Mitt Romney, in his judgment, was not up to the test. Talking about his positions being "all over the map." Talking about the fact that "You've never had to execute on foreign policy decisions." Talking about, "When I, what I've learned as commander-in-chief."
You also saw Brian, the President determined to pick a fight, as you just referenced, with Governor Romney and Romney surprisingly determined to avoid a fight. Playing almost as if he was ahead, determined to sound more moderate, to disagree less with the President on foreign policy. Where were the bright, shining distinctions between these two men tonight?
Update 0:26 | Matthew Sheffield. Many have pointed out that bayonets are still standard-issue military equipment to this day. It is also true that in Afghanistan, horses are being used by American troops. See the following two links for more details: 1, 2.