War of tweets rages around US debate

October 12, 2012 by Celia Sampol
A TV tuned to the US vice presidential debate can be seen through a window in Chinatown October 11. Before, during and after Thursday's debate, the tweets were raging

Before, during and after Thursday's US vice presidential debate, the tweets were raging.

Ahead of the event, Vice President Joe Biden tweeted a picture of himself and President , while Republican Paul Ryan showed a picture with his young son, "one of my most trusted advisors."

By the time the debate started, tweets were flying, with fact-checkers on both sides, as users created pages for @LaughinJoeBiden—poking fun at his frequent grins—and hashtages like #LyinRyan, suggesting the Republican was loose with the facts.

"Holy Gish Gallop, Batman! Lie fast, lie often, and don't allow a proper response," said one Twitter user with the #LyinRyan hashtag.

But a Republican supporter tweeted: "When it comes to faith, Biden miserably strikes out: 1. Doesn't donate to charity 2. Pro-death 3. Lying doesn't phase him."

The Romney response team tweeted that Biden "promised the stimulus would 'literally' drop-kick 'us out of this recession'—but unemployment is still stuck near 8%."

Romney's campaign tweeted during the debate that the Obama administration "has failed to lead in stopping violence in Syria—where tens of thousands have been massacred by the Assad regime."

The Obama-Biden "Truth Team" countered with its own message: "TRUE: and Paul Ryan would spend $2 trillion that the military hasn't even asked for."

Halfway through the debate, Twitter said users had fired off more than two million related tweets. At the close, the micro-blogging service said: "Just over 4 million tweets on the night for the VP Debate. 3.5 million of them in the 92 minutes of debate time."

Some news organizations had their own fact-checking teams monitoring the debate in real time.

The said "Ryan's critique of the sanctions and the UN diplomacy during the Obama administration is missing certain nuances." But it also said Biden went "a bit far" in contraception claims under Obama's .

Tumblr produced live animations of "the best debate moments, from zingers to gaffes to awkward silences."

And Microsoft's Xbox Live political network streamed the debate and gave its users the opportunity to answer questions as it went on.

Predictably, both sides claimed victory in their .

From the Republican side: "@PaulRyanVP Offered Solutions, While @JoeBiden Ducked Blame."

But the incumbent side responded: "Biden was more prepared, more experienced and the clear winner."

The flap over the feathered children's television character Big Bird reared its head again after the debate as well.

A tweet from @BigBird said: "RT If you think won the debate. Check with a psychiatrist if you think Paul Ryan won."

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