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Presidential debate memes: No handshake, lots of sniffles

As Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton faced off again, Abraham Lincoln and sniffles (yes, more sniffles) caught fire online. And the internet asked: "What's a lepo?"

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Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
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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.
Credentials
  • Third place film critic, 2021 LA Press Club National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards
Gael Cooper
Leslie Katz
2 min read

You know interest in a presidential debate is high when HBO releases its Sunday-night shows two days early so debate watchers can get their fictional fix before tuning into the real-life drama and comedy. The second presidential debate delivered plenty of both.

We updated this post with social media reaction to the political theater throughout the Sunday evening event moderated by CNN's Anderson Cooper and ABC's Martha Raddatz. The often tense showdown featured a town hall format, with some of the questions coming from the moderators, and some from the (supposedly) undecided voters attending the event at Washington University in St. Louis.

Sunday night's contest turned out to be the most tweeted debate of all time. Even before the 90-minute event started, some on social media were undecided about how they felt about voters still being undecided.

Once the debate started, the internet couldn't type fast enough.

Punching the ticket

Many were surprised when Donald Trump said he hasn't spoken to running mate Gov. Mike Pence on military intervention in Syria and "I disagree" with him. Shortly after the debate ended, Pence tweeted his support and congratulations.

Off to the movies with 'Lincoln'

When Hillary Clinton mentioned the 2012 Steven Spielberg movie "Lincoln," movie buffs took notice.

What are we watching anyway?

The debate got personal fast, and issues seemed to slip behind Trump and Clinton's personal attacks, leaving viewers disturbed.

Word up

The folks behind the Merriam-Webster dictionary helpfully tweeted out hot words from the debate as they made the news.

Back to the '80s

When Donald Trump said Hillary Clinton "acid-washed" her emails, Americans had a flashback to the 1980s.

The sniffles are back

In the first debate, Donald Trump got teased for sniffles (which he denied having), and the internet noticed the sniffs' return, turning #sniffles and #sniff into Twitter trends.

Shake it off

The candidates didn't shake hands, and that didn't go unnoticed, as the trending hashtag #nohandshake demonstrated.

Originally published at 6:24 p.m. PT.
Update, 6:39 p.m. PT, 6:50 p.m. PT, 7 p.m. PT, 7:20 p.m. PT, 7:44 p.m. PT, 8:45 p.m. PT: Added more hot topics being discussed on social media.