The final presidential debate elicited 6.5 million tweets in 90 minutes
The breakout topic of the night was a line about "horses and bayonettes"
Other trending topics included everyone loving teachers and if Obama went on an "apology tour"
Monday night’s third and final presidential debate was a bittersweet occasion for the Twittersphere. The previous two presidential debates, and one equally entertaining vice presidential debate, have provided rich material for the wits of Twitter. Their rapid-fire commentary turned what could have been dry television into deeply entertaining multi-screen experiences. As many pointed out on Twitter, the micro-blogging service is like Mystery Science Theater for live television.
This debate, which took place at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, is the last for the current election cycle, which will end when voters go to the polls on November 6.
The meme of the evening did not stem out of one candidate’s gaffe, but from a well-executed zinger (the words “gaffe” and “zinger” will officially be retired on November 7). Responding to a criticism from Romney about the size of the U.S. Navy, Obama said: “You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them.”
The hashtag #horsesandbayonettes and parody account @Horsesbayonette quickly followed. Other popular moments included moderator Bob Schieffer slipping up and saying “Obama bin Laden,” the repeated use of the word “tumult” and whether or not the U.S. should “divorce” Pakistan.
The volume of tweets was a bit lower this round, with 6.5 million tweets sent during the hour and a half event, according to Twitter. The previous debate had 7.2 million tweets, the first 10 million (a record for a U.S. political event).
Patrick W. Gavin – I’m really going to miss you guys’s live-tweeting of debates for the next four years.
Jeffrey Goldberg – No event in the history of Boca Raton has started later than this debate.
tomfitzgerald – Gotta love Lynn University’s sense of humor. Students wearing t-shirts that say, “We’ve never heard of you, either.” #lynnedebate
PeterLandau – Our presidential candidates should be doping. This debate would be greatly improved by performance-enhancing drugs.
wheezywaiter – This split screen is making it easy to imagine a Romney/Obama Siamese twin.
W. Kamau Bell – President Obama has that “I have Bin Laden’s head in a bag beneath the desk.” look in his eyes. #mockthevote #debate
Donald J. Trump – Stop congratulating Obama for killing Bin Laden. The Navy Seals killed Bin Laden. #debate
Scary Beans – Stop congratulating The Navy Seals for killing Bin Laden. Some guns and also some bullets killed Bin Laden. #debate
Andy Borowitz – Both candidates’ use of the numbers 1 through 5 underscores the importance of keeping Sesame Street. #debate
cody christman – A 15 year old talking about the debate on twitter is like a Canadian discussing palm trees with a polar bear
David Fear – “You clearly think the beer in question is less filling!” “No, no, that is not accurate, I clearly said it. Tasted. Great!” #debate
jamisonfoser – Obama: “I know you haven’t had a chance to execute foreign policy.” FACT-CHECK: Romney organized multinational Luge competition.
Felix Salmon – Governor, I’ll see you your Mali and raise you a Chad. You’re not going to leave Chad hanging, are you?
BradMcCarty – According to Twitter, the Giants are leading Mitt Romney in game 3.
Jon Mooallem – Chose the baseball game. Somebody’s actually going to win that.
Hank Green – The Giants Game 7 is ensuring no one in San Francisco is watching the Debate. How is Mitt ever going to reach them!?
awsamuel – America, if all you want is a president whose policy is “go after the bad guys”, my 6-year-old stands ready to serve. #debate
Barack Obama [Parody account] – Wait, so Tumult isn’t one of Romney’s sons name? #debate
Ben Greenman – Romney: “I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses.” As groovy as that would be.
Bill Dixon – If life were good, Mitt Romney would say “binder full of NATO allies.” #mockthevote #debate
david carr – Romney: Love me some drones. My drones will dronier than the drones we now have.
Arianna Huffington – So no daylight at all btw the two on drones and Afghanistan. This is more of a meeting than a debate.
michaelshure – Latin America is great because it is a time-zone opportunity? WORST PANDER EVER #current2012
Matthew Reichbach – Obama should have picked up a mic and dropped it after that #horsesandbayonets line.
Cory Byrom – I saw Horses and Bayonets at SXSW back in 2010. They slayed. #debate
jonathanwald – Lone debate correspondent for Horse & Hound finally has a fresh lede.
John Kerry – I think POTUS just sank Romney’s battleship
azizansari – “What are you guys going to be for Halloween?” #BetterDebateQuestions
nickgillespie – Governor, you get a phone call that Candy Crowley is on her way to moderate a debate. What do YOU do?
Some Dude – Did we get married to Pakistan during a drunken weekend in Vegas?? Was Zach Galifianakas involved? #debates
kumailn – To divorce Pakistan, you’d just have to say “divorce” three times. #islamjoke #lookitup #debate
anamariecox – I went on an apology tour once and I was sorry I did.
Matt Binder – “Don’t say Obama Bin Laden.” - Bob Schieffer preparing for the debate “Obama Bin Laden” - Bob Schieffer at the debate #debates
CNN’s Doug Gross, John Sutter and Brandon Griggs contributed to this story.