Romney wants more Navy ships? Maybe because one of his top advisers made millions from building them

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Last night many of us got a chuckle out of President Obama's retort to Mitt Romney's lament about the U.S. having fewer Navy ships. “That’s unacceptable to me,” said Willard.

The response he got from the president was the memorable, "We also have fewer horses and bayonets."

But Romney was clearly very concerned. So what's up with his obsession over the number of ships?

David Axe at Wired may have the answer:

But for one of Romney’s most important advisers on Navy issues, a man who oversaw a massive naval expansion for Pres. Ronald Reagan, there’s more at stake than U.S. national security. John Lehman, an investment banker and former secretary of the Navy, has strong and complex personal financial ties to the naval shipbuilding industry. He has profited hugely from the Navy’s slow growth in recent years — raising the prospect that he could make even more if Romney takes his advice on expanding the fleet.

That doesn’t mean that a bigger or better Navy is necessarily a bad idea. But it does complicate Romney’s claim that a larger Navy would merely be “matched to the interests we need to protect.” A bigger maritime force has the possibility of personally enriching one of the candidate’s top advisers. In fact, it already has.

Lehman is the founder and chairman of J.F. Lehman & Company, a private equity firm. He also sits on several corporate boards...  Even leaving aside the intricate ferry-and-shipyard series of deals, Lehman still stands to profit from the naval buildup he is helping to plan. [...]

[I]f a Romney administration does embark in such an enormous increase in military shipbuilding, it’s worth noting that one of the brains behind the expansion has profited rather handsomely by encouraging the Navy to build.

Once again, it's not necessarily about what's good for America, it's all about what benefits Willard M. Romney.

Much more here.

H/t: Greg Ostravich

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DW7LHDQQLRH5RQG2AGEXP35QGM Mr. B

    I remember Lehman; he was Secretary of the Navy when I went on active duty back in 1985.

    He always struck me as a bit of a snot-nose, and now I can see why:  he's another rich, entitled white boy -- like the candidate he advises.