Lost in the coverage of Haley Barbour's decision not to run for the Republican presidential nomination was a small gaffe made by Mitt Romney, the man who as much as anyone stands to benefit from Barbour's retreat.
In an op-ed published Monday in New Hampshire's Union Leader, the all-important Manchester newspaper, Romney hammered President Obama for his deficit-reduction plan and his overall economic policies — an argument key to the central Romney message that he would be a more effective steward of America's finances.
"Barack Obama is facing a financial emergency on a grander scale. Yet his approach has been to engage in one of the biggest peacetime spending binges in American history," Romney wrote. "With its failed stimulus package, its grandiose new social programs, its fervor for more taxes and government regulations, and its hostility toward business, the administration has made the debt problem worse, hindered economic recovery and needlessly cost American workers countless jobs."
All well and good, except that Romney used the word "peacetime" — an odd choice of adjective considering the U.S. military is on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq and supporting airstrikes in Libya.