War of tweets rages around US debate

Updated: 2012-10-13 08:14

By Celia Sampol in Danville, Kentucky (China Daily)

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Before, during and after Thursday's US vice-presidential debate, the tweets were raging.

Ahead of the event, Vice-President Joe Biden tweeted a picture of himself and President Barack Obama, while Republican Paul Ryan showed a picture with his young son, "one of my most trusted advisers".

By the time the debate started, tweets were flying, with fact-checkers on both sides, as Twitter users created pages for @LaughinJoeBiden - poking fun at his frequent grins - and hashtags like #LyinRyan, suggesting the Republican was loose with the facts.

"Holy Gish Gallop, Batman! Lie fast, lie often, and don't allow a proper response," said one Twitter user with the #LyinRyan hashtag.

But a Republican supporter tweeted: "When it comes to faith, Biden miserably strikes out: 1. Doesn't donate to charity 2. Pro-death 3. Lying doesn't phase him".

The Romney response team tweeted that Biden "promised the stimulus would 'literally' drop-kick 'us out of this recession' but unemployment is still stuck near 8%."

Romney's campaign tweeted during the debate that the Obama administration "has failed to lead in stopping violence in Syria - where tens of thousands have been massacred..."

The Obama-Biden "Truth Team" countered with its own message: "TRUE: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would spend $2 trillion that the military hasn't even asked for."

Halfway through the debate, Twitter said users had fired off more than 2 million related tweets. At the close, the micro-blogging service said: "Just over 4 million tweets on the night for the VP Debate. 3.5 million of them in the 92 minutes of debate time."

Some news organizations had their own fact-checking teams monitoring the debate in real time.

The Washington Post said "Ryan's critique of the sanctions and the UN diplomacy during the Obama administration is missing certain nuances." But it also said Biden went "a bit far" in contraception claims under Obama's healthcare reform.

Tumblr produced live animations of "the best debate moments, from zingers to gaffes to awkward silences".

And Microsoft's Xbox Live political network streamed the debate and gave its users the opportunity to answer questions as it went on.

Predictably, both sides claimed victory in their tweets.

From the Republican side: "@PaulRyanVP Offered Solutions, While @JoeBiden Ducked Blame."

But the incumbent side responded: "Biden was more prepared, more experienced and the clear winner."

Agence France-Presse

(China Daily 10/13/2012 page8)