Obama/Romney debate is most-tweeted event in U.S. political history, for now

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Just as “Call Me Maybe” lip dubs give way to galloping “Gangnam Style” videos, so must this year’s political conventions give way to the debates.

Back in early September, President Obama’s convention speech set a record on Twitter, driving around 52,756 tweets per minute — more than any other political event in American history. (History began in March 2006, when Twitter was invented.) Last night, though, that record was shattered when Obama’s debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney generated up to 158,690 tweets per minute, according to a graph generated by the social media site itself.

All in all, Twitter reports that more than 10 million tweets about the debate were sent during its 90-minute run time. By contrast, Twitter users sent 9.5 million tweets about the DNC over the course of its three days. The RNC inspired around 4 million total tweets.

Surprisingly, Romney’s quip about Big Bird didn’t lead to the biggest tweet spike of the night. Instead, the most tweets were generated around 9:53 p.m., when Romney began to say, “Let’s talk about …” and moderator Jim Lehrer cut him off, replying, “Let’s not.”

Upon hearing about the debate’s Twitter record triumph, Election Day 2012 cracked its imaginary knuckles and cackled, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Read more:
TV debate follow-up: How the emphasis on ‘narrative’ distorts the Obama-Romney race
Presidential debate review: Romney dominated from early on, Obama embraced his inner ‘Obamacare’
Presidential debates: A history of the biggest gaffes and zingers

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