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Big Bird, Binders, and now, Bayonets.
Whereas it used to take TV networks to replay and emphasize notable moments during debates (Al Gore‘s yawn, Richard Nixon‘s sweat), the populist pundit tool of Twitter has allowed the electorate to independently and immediately seize on small details during 90 minute-long policy discussions. In this third presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, it was the commander in chief’s wry comeback to his GOP rival’s criticism of military preparedness that set the web ablaze.
Romney was in the midst of picking at Obama’s miltary, criticizing the president for presiding over a Navy that was less prepared than it was in 1916. Quipping back, Obama said that “we also have less horses and bayonets” than we did back then, explaining that the military now uses more advanced weapons for different battle scenarios.
The remark immediately excited Twitter, sparking 105,767 tweets per minute, which proved tops for the debate.
In the first debate, Romney’s insistence that he “did not want to kill Big Bird,” even if he wanted to cut funding from PBS, was the most memorable individual moment, while in the second debate his recollection of having “binders full of women” that were good job candidates delivered to him when he took office as governor of Massachusetts became the meme of that moment.
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