Debate makes Big Bird a big hit on Twitter

The famed yellow avian star of "Sesame Street" flies high on social media after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney mentions him during tonight's presidential debate.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
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Leslie Katz
2 min read

Big Bird might just be the big winner in tonight's presidential debate. A number of satirical Big Bird accounts popped up on Twitter within moments of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney noting that "I love Big Bird" as he commented that he would cut PBS subsidies to address the national debt.

"100 Retweets and I'm going to make my nest outside Romney's bedroom window," read one tweet from BigBirdRomney (Twitter bio: Romney is willing to cut me. Not cool).

Another account, SadBigBird (bio: Sad Mitt haz no love for me..... or does he?), bragged: "I am owning the #debates." Additional avian accounts BIGBIRD and Fired Big Bird are also flying high on Twitter; as of shortly after the debate's close, each boasted more than 12,000 followers. "Herman Cain/Big Bird 2016," the latter proposed.

The Twitter masses jumped all over Romney's Big Bird comment tonight, with the microblogging site at one point registering 17,000 tweets per minute for "Big Bird" and 10,000 tweets per minute for "PBS," according to Twitter Government, which tracks the use of Twitter for civic engagement.

The debate's moderator Jim Lehrer, who has been taking a fair share of heat from the public and peers for not being aggressive enough during tonight's proceedings, also gave rise to a satirical account: Silent Jim Lehrer. Needless to say, the faux journalist isn't tweeting anything too substantive: "...er...okay so...now..."

Funny fake Twitter accounts are clearly becoming an election season trend. The wooden chair to which Clint Eastwood talked during his speech at the Republican National Convention this summer also scored its own Twitter accounts.

The best-known of them, Invisible Obama, has been busily tweeting during tonight's debate and its aftermath. "Shhhhh...sneaking in a little late to the debate," the chair tweeted earlier. "Don't mind me." And later: "Jim Lehrer is disappearing in this debate like Marty McFly in a Polaroid. Quick, someone make out with Ann Romney." Now, in the ultimate show of social-media meta, Silent Jim Lehrer needs to retweet that.

Update, 7:45 p.m. PT: to add additional satirical Twitter accounts and update the number of followers.