Story highlights

Marco Rubio with one of the debate's memorable lines

Critics and conspiracy theorists had a lot to say

CNN —  

The philosopher-warriors of social media were burning up Tuesday night over Marco Rubio’s economic pitch at the Republican debate.

“Welders make more money than philosophers,” the Florida senator said, making the case for an expansion in vocational training. “We need more welders and less philosophers.”

The line is a staple of Rubio’s stump speech, but he gave it a national debut in Milwaukee, at the fourth Republican debate.

During an appearance on Fox and Friends on Wednesday morning after the debate, the hosts joked that Google searches for welding classes went up 1300% and said there were philosophers now probably wishing they were welders.

“If you can find a philosopher that can weld, that’s pretty good,” Rubio quipped on Fox.

Tuesday night, many Republicans and the campaign itself celebrated the welders comment that Rubio made during the debate, a pithy jab at the liberal arts colleges the GOP base has traditionally scorned.

Others were more, well, philosophical about it all.

Then there were those who argued… why choose?

Another tweet managed to bring Donald Trump into the conversation, cheekily suggesting Rubio’s welders might be used to get to work on Trump’s pet project.

And the conspiracy theorists emerged, tongue-in-cheek.

Soon the grammarians got a few words in.

But the nastiest burns came from a fact check army that turned out in force just as soon as the words left Rubio’s mouth. The math, they said, didn’t add up.

Most critics cited the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which lists the median annual salary for welders at $37,420. For philosophy teachers, the wage is significantly higher: $63,630.

Eugene Scott contributed to this story.