millions thousands hundreds? a few Americans tuned in to watch Barack Obama and Mitt Romney square off in the first of three presidential debates leading up to next month’s election.
I joked the other day that nobody watches the debates, but in truth, more than 58 million viewers sat in front of their televisions and watched the 90-minute verbal quarrel. It sounds like a pretty impressive number, but it isn’t that impressive when you consider that 111 million people watched the Super Bowl this year — nearly double the amount.
And I have to admit that I tuned in. I just had to see it. I wasn’t necessarily watching because I was extremely interested in hearing both men’s political views, but I just was waiting for all the moments of comedy. Because you knew they were coming.
Although there wasn’t any huge moment, there were definitely some highlights. On the political side, though, the New York Times actually had Romney winning the debate. I’ll admit that Romney’s eloquence did surprise me a little, but I think political pundits are also confusing “eloquence” for “substance.”
But anyway, here is what I learned.
1) Twitter has officially revolutionized debates. I was immensely entertained while following the debate on Twitter. Whether it was an actual comedian, or just some random dude, people were cracking jokes left and right, and a lot of them were making me laugh. It’s gotten to the point where every little word is open to severe scrutiny, and you can’t say anything without it slipping by somebody on Twitter.
Also, as I’ll get to very shortly, a couple of very funny Twitter handles were created as a result of the debate.
2) Jim Lehrer is a bitch. Lehrer is a television news host on PBS, and he became known to the world last night for being extremely passive. As moderator of the debate, he was constantly interrupted by the two candidates, and had a very difficult time maintaining the predetermined time limits for each topic. A hilarious twitter handle was made throughout the night that embodied his inabilities.
3) Mitt Romney likes coal. One of the first laugh-out-loud moments came when Romney, while talking about new energy sources, suddenly burst out, “By the way, I like coal!” I don’t care what he said after that, because I was laughing too hard. Only two people like coal in this world, The Grinch and Mitt Romney.
4) Big Bird won the night. About halfway into the debate, Romney discussed how he wished to cut federal spending that he deems as “unnecessary.” One of them was funding for PBS, a nonprofit television network that has existed since 1970, that has aired great educational shows like Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood.
So when Romney said that, if elected, he plans to cut the PBS subsidy, he uttered the words, “Sorry Big Bird.” Within minutes, Big Bird was trending nationally on Twitter, and within hours, a “Fired Big Bird” Twitter handle had hundreds of thousands of followers.
5) Nobody answers the actual questions. Like ever. When Jim Lehrer actually did find the time to pose a question, both Romney and Obama would give a quick two-sentence response, and then they would clearly launch into their prepared diatribe that only vaguely related to the question that was asked. If politicians are really good at anything, it is memorization. They were both prepared to say what they had to say, regardless of what questions they were asked.
Again, it really doesn’t matter what arguments or counterarguments are made during debates. As long as you don’t embarrass yourself, then it’s no harm no foul. Unfortunately, none of that occurred last night.
Somehow I didn’t realize that the next political debate, set for Oct. 16, is taking place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, which is like five minutes from where I work and about fifteen minutes from where I live. I’m totally going to walk around the outside of the university that day and keep my eyes open for secret service agents.
In fact, you could probably get away with a ton of crime that day. All police focus will clearly be devoted towards maintaining order in and around that campus, and no cops are going to respond to just a plain old burglary, or a mugging, or a car theft, or a murder, when there is a president in town.
Remember the movie Gone in 60 seconds? You should because it is one of the few tolerable Nicolas Cage movies. Well anyway, I am going to do something similar and attempt to steal 50 cars during the 90-minute presidential debate. Actually, scratch that, I am going to one-up Nic Cage and steal 51. Actually, scratch that again, I’m going to just stay home and watch X-Factor.
Oh well, the first political debate is over, and now we can shove aside politics for a short while and get back to discussing the things that makes America go round, such as celebrity gossip, reality television and cute pictures of cats in cardboard boxes.
But to cap off the debate talk, here is a photo of Romney and Obama if they switched hair styles and shared the same skin color.