2012 Elections: News, Analysis, Videos, and Breaking on the Presidential Election, Local Elections, and More

2012 Elections: News, Analysis, Videos, and Breaking on the Presidential Election, Local Elections, and More

Complete coverage of the 2012 election

Debate Meme 3.0: Horses and Bayonets

The president's "horses and bayonets" retort was the most tweeted and Googled phrase of the night

By Emily Feldman
|  Tuesday, Oct 23, 2012  |  Updated 6:34 AM PDT
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President Barack Obama responded to criticism on military spending from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during Monday night's debate with a zinger that quickly reverberated through the Twitterverse and beyond. After Mitt Romney cited the size of the military in 1917 to illustrate what he said was its shrinking under Obama, the president responded that the U.S. does have fewer ships than it did in the early 1900s.

NBC

President Barack Obama responded to criticism on military spending from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during Monday night's debate with a zinger that quickly reverberated through the Twitterverse and beyond. After Mitt Romney cited the size of the military in 1917 to illustrate what he said was its shrinking under Obama, the president responded that the U.S. does have fewer ships than it did in the early 1900s. "We also have fewer horses and bayonets," he added — a comment that soon went viral.

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President Barack Obama responded to criticism from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during Monday night's debate with a zinger that quickly reverberated across social media and became the most tweeted moment of the 90-minute faceoff.

During a dispute over military spending, Romney noted that "our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917" — a comment Obama mocked as out of touch.

"Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed," the president said. "We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines."

Within moments, the requisite Tumblr came alive, as did the parody Twitter accounts, including Obamas Bayonets.

It was the most tweeted moment of the debate, generating 105,767 tweets per minute, and the most searched term on Google.

As the meme continued to grow, BuzzFeed's Rebecca Berg was among the first to tweet confirmation that the U.S. Army still does use bayonets. That point was repeated in a new flood of tweets — many by users who identified themselves as military members — that sought to "fact check" Obama (who actually did not say that the military no longer used them) or cast his comment to an insult to American troops.

 

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