Can social media and Big Bird turn debate loss into a win for Obama?

Last night, President Obama turned in what most observers widely agreed was a terrible debate performance. You didn’t need a poll to tell you who won. But CNN did one anyway that showed that 67 percent of people who watched thought Mitt Romney gave the president a smack down.

And he did.

But as the debate ended, I wondered how it would get spun the next day by pundits? Because this, ultimately, can matter as much as the actual debate performances.

Back in 2000, I remember Al Gore crushing George Bush in the first debate in 2000. But the next day, everyone was talking about Gore smirking and rolling his eyes. That became the narrative, and Gore never really recovered. Yes, I know he won the popular vote, but he seemed lost the rest of the campaign.

Could that happen again? After Romney’s win, I’ve seen two clear trends emerging.

First, there’s lots of fact checking pointing out a long list of Romney lies. Now, my feeds skew liberal, so I’m guessing conservatives are doing the same with Obama. In either case, in our post-fact society, I’m not sure how much truth or accuracy sways the public opinion.

But here’s the second, more interesting trend: Every time I look up today, there’s a picture of Big Bird on the TV, or Facebook, or Twitter. For awhile, “Sesame Street” was trending on Twitter.

Even the @SesameStreet got into the act:

 

So far, that tweet has been re-tweeted 11,257 times.

And then there were the photos:

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

 

Big Bird joins the unemployment line (via Twitter user @FiredBigBird)

Via Jonny etc. Illustration posted on Facebook

And PBS even got into the act, paying for this promoted tweet to respond to Romney’s threat to cut funding for public broadcasting:

Meanwhile, the Big Bird focus was seeping back into mainstream media. CNN did  a fact check on whether Romney could really kill Big Bird. And several times this afternoon, when I looked up at the TV screen in the newsroom, I saw a picture of Big Bird behind Wolf Blitzer.

Even Obama, so listless Wednesday night, so lacking in good zingers, seemed energized by the whole Big Bird meme. At this rally, he delivered a line that trumped anything else he managed at the debate: “Thanks goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird.” Someone in the crowd then yells, “Elmo!”

Again, Romney creamed Obama. So the next day, is this what you want everyone talking about? Your plan to whack Big Bird? It will be interesting to see whether this social media support for Big Bird and mocking of Romney will turn victory into defeat for him.

 

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  • Charles Cundiff

    Of course Obama won the Debate, after all he had all of the Liberal media and Michelle the Moocher on his side.

    • Uh. What? No one says he won the debate last night. No matter what conspiracy you spin.

      • Tho mas

        “First, there’s lots of fact checking pointing out a long list of Romney lies. Now, my feeds skew liberal, so I’m guessing conservatives are doing the same with Obama. In either case, in our post-fact society, I’m not sure how much truth or accuracy sways the public opinion.”

        I guess only Romney lies? but Obama has lying conservatives checking his facts?

        I will ask where in the Constitution does it say the Federal government is to support public television? Please where? Which amendment?

        Stick to technology not leftist slanted political reporting.

  • John Stewart

    As usual, the short attention span is in play. Big Bird and company are getting a little long in the tooth. What is it, pushing 40+ years?? That is a lot of exposure to a large number. However, extend the attention span and note that Romney also mentioned Jim Leahr, the debate moderated. And, extend the attention span more and PBS was mentioned. Extend the attention span a little more and you gave the context of the remark – public funding for failing programs.

    Basically, it is tone for PBS to exist without taxpayer funding.

    Romney’s point was about saving. Start with a million here, a million there and soon you have a few billions in savings. Well, a few billions less in expenses due outdated programs past their prime and original intent.

  • God

    Romney can have the debate. He genuinely won it. Like Obama did this election about 11 days ago with Mitts hatred of 47% of americans including grandmas and troops.

    • DBaker

      Seems even God has bought into Obama and the media misrepresentation of the 47% statement. Why do you suppose Obama did not bring this up in the debate? Could it be that he didn’t want to be exposed for his ridiculous misrepresentation of this issue.

  • Justin Thyme

    The win here is that BIG BIRD has just joined Obama’s campaign as a new POSTER CHILD

 
 
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