Social media highlights from the first presidential debate in Denver on Wednesday night: Big Bird, Jim Lehrer, Donald Trump, KitchenAid, and Twitter.
What about President Obama or Gov. Romney?
Well, the winner depends on whom you are following, but there seemed to be a distinct trend that Romney brought more game than Obama who lacked some of the energy seen on the campaign trail. Even Obama’s deputy campaign manager admitted on CNN that Romney won the debate.
Some highlights from the pundits’ Twitter accounts:
VANITY FAIR @VanityFair: Has Obama ever been this off his game?
Piers Morgan @piersmorgan: I don't have a horse in this race, but Romney's romping home a clear winner tonight.
Michael Crawford @dmcrawford: Can Michelle tag in for Barack? #debate
And from the less political types focusing on debate mannerisms and tactics:
Duke @DukeStJournal: The real advantage Romney has tonight is his willingness to be confrontational. Obama is losing by talking about Romney, not to him. #debate
Johnny McNulty @JohnnyMcNulty: Romney's hands look like he's constantly folding air sheets. #debate
Dana Weiss @Possessionista: Hey I just met you, and this is crazy. But you have two minutes, so make your point maybe. #Debate
Driving much of the non-partisan, non-political conversation was Romney's comment about making tax cuts, including federal funding projects and public television. He said to moderator Jim Lehrer: "I'm sorry, Jim. I'm going to the stop the subsidy to PBS. I like Big Bird. I like you!"
And not surprisingly, at least two new Twitter accounts were instantly created attracting hundreds of followers: @bigbirdromny with the profile of "Romney is willing to cut me. Not Cool" and @bigbird with the profile of "about to get dumped by Romney. :("
Also, #BigBird was trending into the evening and the No.1 photo was of Big Bird. A selection of tweets included:
Andy Carvin @acarvin: Who woulda guessed that Big Bird would be this debate's Joe the Plumber? Viewers like you? #denverdebate
Johnny Bananas @MTVBananas: Really #Romney, you're gonna cut Big Bird?! Forget votes from anybody living on Sesame Street! #Debate
Bob Kerr @MrBobKerr: "You don't think I can create jobs? I just created over 1,000 fake Big Bird Twitter accounts." - Mitt Romney
Mo Rocca @MoRocca: That sound you heard: Big Bird shooting himself
opie radio @OpieRadio: #debate - @MittRomney loves Big Bird but does he love Bert and Ernie's lifestyle?
Next to Big Bird, PBS' Lehrer's drew a host of comments. Consensus was that he lost control of the two candidates within 30 seconds, prompting #jimlehrer to trend on Twitter.
Some of the more kind Lehrer critics said:
Ernest Wilkins @ernestwilkins: That sound you heard was Lehrer passing out
Rob Frankel @brandingexpert: Lehrer didn't realize he was supposed to moderate. He figured he just scored some front row seats.
Gladstone @WGladstone: I have a feeling Jim Lehrer only gets his check at a restaurant after each and every other patron has gone home.
stacia l. brown @slb79: Oh, Lehrer. This whole night has been a fail for you. But you remind me of a great-grandpa and I miss mine. So I'm not (too) mad.#debate
Tom Crabtree @TCrabtree83: Jim Lehrer is probably thinking this is the toughest debate he's moderated since the Martin Van Buren/William Henry Harrison debates of 1836
Donald Trump showed up in Twitter streams when Obama offered an explanation of what he considered to be small businesses, and it didn’t include Donald Trump: “Under Gov. Romney’s definition, Donald Trump is a small business. I know Donald Trump doesn’t like to think of himself as small anything."
The mention prompted Trump to tweet
from his @realDonaldTrump account: “As a big job creator, I was greatly honored to have been mentioned twice tonight during the debate.”
The surprise of the night was KitchenAid, which posted the following tweet from @KitchenAidUSA about 10 minutes into the debate
: “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president’. #nbcpolitics”
The @KitchenAidUSA posted it to 24,000 followers before quickly deleting the tweet, and issuing an apology
. Another reminder to log out of your day-job twitter account before commenting on the debate.
Finally, Twitter was also a clear winner, declaring that the debate was the most tweeted about political event ever, surpassing both the DNC and RNC.
Gil Rudawsky is a former reporter and editor. He heads up the crisis communication and issues management practice at GroundFloor Media in Denver. Read his blog or contact him at email@example.com.