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Presidential Dabate Sets New Twitter Record; Jim Lehrer, Big Bird Among Most Discussed Topics

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A huge night for the candidates, the first Presidential debate of the 2012 election was also a huge night for Twitter.

According to a post on the Twitter Blog, over 10 million tweets were sent during the debate, making it the "most tweeted-about event in U.S. politics." Based on Twitter activity during the face-off, the most discussed topic among tweeters was a close call between debate moderator Jim Lehrer and...Big Bird.

The first of three scheduled presidential debates was held in Denver, CO, on October 3, with Mitt Romney and current Commander-In-Chief Barack Obama sparring over topics like the economy and Medicare. In what has become typical with national news events, the Twittersphere was a-buzzin' from the moment the candidates took the stage to well after their closing statements.

Check out the graphic (below) to see the waves of user activity during the event, per Twitter's blog:

presidential debates twitter

When was Twitter's activity the highest? According to the above chart, that moment came when Jim Lehrer quipped, "Let's not," in response to Romney's request for a topic. At that time, Twitter was blasted with nearly 160,000 tweets per minute. Lehrer's remarks (or lack thereof) even inspired a new parody account, @SilentJimLehrer, and earned Lehrer the title of debate loser from several news outlets, including The Atlantic.

But another meme spun out of the debate: When Romney discussed what he would cut from the government's spending, he mentioned slashing funding for PBS and stated, "I like PBS; I love Big Bird!… But I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it." Multiple parody accounts, including @BigBirdRomney, @FiredBigBird and @BlGBlRD, sprung up instantly, some garnering over ten thousand followers within an hour.

Were you watching the debate and following the online conversation via social media networks like Twitter? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, and then tell us who you think came out on top:

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For more debate coverage of the debate, check out our coverage from the event (here) and see who readers think won the debate (here).

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