The internet is abuzz with talk of last night’s first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Many were debating who between the two won the debate, but others focused on other things that happened during the event like how moderator Jim Lehrer was “steamrolled” by the two candidates, too lenient to handle an initial meeting of such gravity. We highly doubt Lehrer is happy to have become a trending topic on Twitter for his lacklustre performance.
Turns out last nights debate was the most talked about presidential debate in history, and you’d think it’s because people were so interested in what Obama and Romney had to say about the economy, but you’d be wrong. The Twitterverse’s trending political concourse had more to do with Big Bird. Yes, that big, yellow bird on Sesame Street.
During the debate, Romney reiterated his support to stop funding the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) when he stated “I’m sorry Jim. I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m gonna stop other things,” Romney said. “I like PBS, I like Big Bird, I actually like you too.”
Twitter reported that, right after his remarks, users were posting 17,000 tweets per minute mentioning Big Bird. People were saying things like: “I worked with Big Bird. I served with Big Bird. You, sir, are no Big Bird,”The Lance Arthur, @thelancearthur, of San Francisco tweeted. And “Big Bird, you have two minutes for rebuttal,” tweeted Ina Fried, @inafried, of San Francisco, the senior editor for AllThingsD. Then, Rick Klein, senior Washington editor at ABC, tweeted that Big Bird had no comment and “does not understand why he’s in the news.” Klein added, “I’m actually not making this up.”
Though Romney clearly prepared well for the debate, his Big Bird comment overshadowed his point. So was this the most talked about presidential debate in history? Probably is. But was it talked about for the right reason? Maybe not.
For more analysis on the social impact of the debate last night, see SiliconAngle founder John Furrier’s commentary below: