Tonight, as the presidential candidates traded blows in the final presidential debate, voters flocked to Twitter to discuss the merits of the foreign policy discussion between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. As reported by the all-knowing Twitter Government, over 6.5 millions tweets were sent out during the last of the 2012 presidential debates, with multiple trending topics on Twitter during the debate. Using Twitter as a platform for communication, voters voiced their opinion on issues ranging from Libya, Syria, Israel, Iran, China, and Pakistan, while the candidates responded to questions posed by moderator and CBS News’ Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer.
As with the other three debates, some topics received more attention on Twitter than others. Known for its expediency in identifying trends, the Twitter community reacted to the foreign policy with these top 7 trending topics on Twitter during the debate.
1) Fewer horses and bayonets
Hitting 105,767 tweets per minute, the most tweeted about point in the debate was at 9:45pm EST. The exact quote that drove these tweets was Obama’s response on the size of the navy:
“You mention the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets,” Obama said. “We have these things called aircraft carriers and planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”
While promoted by the Romney campaign for an upwards of $100,000, the hashtag #CantAfford4More was the top trending hashtag on Twitter. Despite Romney’s efforts, however, the hashtag was co-opted by Obama supporters. Some of the top tweets include:
In another awkward debate moment from Mitt Romney, the governor ended his argument by clarifying “I love teachers,” to which moderator Bob Schieffer responded, “We all love teachers…but the debate is over.”
Maybe the curators of this YouTube video should edit in his most recent proclamation:
4) “Apology Tour”
Mitt Romney attacked President Obama for his recent trip to Cairo, stating, “And then the president began what I’ve called an apology tour of going to nations in the Middle East and criticizing America. I think they looked at that and saw weakness.” The Twitter community reacted:
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 23, 2012
I often refer to my honeymoon as an "apology tour."
— Danny Zuker (@DannyZuker) October 23, 2012
5) Russia is a foe
In a discussion about the biggest threat to national security, Romney stated that “Russia is a geo-political foe and Iran is biggest threat to national security,” sparking high levels of debate on the social network Twitter.
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) October 23, 2012
Among the trending topics on Twitter during the debate was the hashtag #AdmittItMitt, which reached the number two spot on Twitter’s trending topics. Like #CantAfford4More, this hashtag was mixed with responses from both Republicans and Democrats, but was primarily used as a tool for Democrats to attack Governor Romney.
In an attempt to get #StopNDAA trending on Twitter during the final presidential debate, opponents of the National Defense Authorization Act started a campaign to spread the hashtag #StopNDAA. While it was not identified by Twitter as a trending topic, the hashtag yielded a strong response, with almost 1,500 tweets throughout the debate.