October 4th, 2012
12:42 AM ET
6 years ago

Mentions of 'Big Bird' increased 800,000% on Facebook

(CNN) - All politics is social – and the world of Facebook is buzzing about the presidential debates. "Romney," "Obama," and "debate" were the top three debate-related terms mentioned on Facebook, but the fourth most popular term, "Big Bird," is undoubtedly the most unexpected trending word or name that arose from the debates.

During Wednesday night's event, the words "Big Bird" were posted to Facebook more times than "taxes," "Jim Lehrer," "Obamacare," "insurance," "Medicare" or "education."

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Mentions of the Sesame Street character increased by nearly 800,000% after Romney said "I love Big Bird' in an answer saying he would cut funding for PBS.

While mentions of Big Bird grew exponentially, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were still mentioned more than 12 times more than the giant yellow bird.

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Romney had 11% more Facebook mentions than Obama during the debate. But overall on Wednesday, the president was mentioned more than half a million times more than Romney. Obama had over 2.5 million unique Facebook mentions, compared to nearly 1.9 million from Romney.

These mentions include interactions with the candidates' Facebook pages. Obama has more than 29 million Facebook fans, and Romney has more than 9 million.
According to CNN's Facebook Election Insights, both candidates each got more than half a million Facebook unique mentions in the 10 p.m. ET hour.

For more Facebook data on the candidates, visit CNN's Facebook Election Insights tool.

READ MORE: CNN Poll: Most watchers say Romney debate winner

READ MORE: KitchenAid apologizes for tweet insulting Obama

Filed under: 2012 • Debate • Facebook • Mitt Romney
soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. bxgrrl

    Big Bird "gets political" This is a new tactic? Republicans have been wanting to kill off Big Bird for decades. One wonders what they have against early childhood education.

    October 4, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. truth hurts

    Romney SMOKES Obama in the first debate and all the Ticker stories are locked out for comments... Hmmmm.... I guess all the Obama supporters are still crying hysterically or passed out on the floor and CNN figured there wouldn't be too much action in here today.

    Come on CNN, open some of these stories up and let us Romney supporters gloat and rub it in.

    October 4, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. Malory Archer

    AAA, not that it matters because if PBS goes away (I'll be dealing with a 3 year-old who can't get his Chika & Kelly fix) it's a moot point, but Sprout is also a CABLE channel – one that in my area isn't offered on basic cable service. It's on channel 121, so it's in the expanded package that costs more.

    October 4, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  4. rs

    It is interesting that once again Mr. Romney failed to deliver in specifics, except to say he'd balance the budget off the back of PBS. To say that Mr. Romney played fast and loose with facts is an understatement. He completely mis-represented his tax cuts for the wealthy as only being breaks for "small business"; he pretty well lied about the breaks for off-shoring jobs (hello? Bain Capital at work); he misrepresented the one-time stimulus money for green businesses; he lied anot Medicare in several significant ways- he changed his $706 billion dollar cut to replacing Obama's $716 billion cut; he completely lied about what that cut represented, and he lied about the longer term effects of the voucher issue. He the went on into this numbing barage of lies regarding the ACA- first saying he would repeal it, then saying he would essentially keep all of it, and comparing it to the Massachussetts plan. On that one he completely backpedalled and threw the TEA Party and ubber-righties undr the bus (one wonders how long that one will take to be walked back).

    Mr. Roney may have "won" the debate through his aggression and pugnacity, but he showed himself for what he really is: a slick, greasy used car salesman who would lie to sell his Grandma a car with a bad tranny(apologies to used car salesmen everywhere- he's actually worse...).

    October 4, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. Sniffit

    "Now let’s look at the facts here. Mitt Romney does propose across-the-board, 20 percent tax cuts. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center said under that plan, taxes on the wealthiest Americans would be reduced by $5 trillion initially. Romney said he would offset that by closing loopholes and reducing reductions. SO IF YOU TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD, our verdict that Mitt Romney would cut taxes on the wealthy by $5 trillion, the verdict here is false."
    -CNN's John Berman

    Really? So CNN is just taking Mittens "AT HIS WORD" despite the glaring absence of specifics and details abouthow he'd achieve this magic promise and the MATH that shows it's impossible to do so without further burdening the middle-class? The whole point is that Mittens tax plan DOES reduce revenue by $5T and HE WON'T TELL US HOW HE'LL PAY FOR THAT....and CNN uses the fact that he won't tell us how he'll pay for it as the "proof" that it's "false" to say he'd cut $5T in gov't revenue via his tax cuts? CNN's new and improved standard of truth: "yeah, but he said so." That was the single most Orwellian moment of "news" engaged in rewriting the facts that I've ever experienced in my life. You've completely jumped the shark and are clearly solely interested in helping Mittens close the gap for your "horse race" narrative (which phrase, by the way, was uttered over 10 times in the 3 minutes following the debate).

    October 4, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. Republican supporter of President Obama

    How can you put people to work when you want to cut, cut cut??? This does not add up. PBS is a great source of educational material. The right-wing GOP has constantly attacked for some time. Why can't we keep the funding and offset that with not building 10 missle? This is not liberal thinking its an common sense one.

    Pulling funds from the PBS cuts potential for jobs and opportunities to help educate our fellow citizens.

    October 4, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama

    Romney/Ryan-2012. The only trusted way forward.

    October 4, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. Republican supporter of President Obama

    I guess Willard is not a fan of Downton Abbey or Sherlock.

    October 4, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. Ronda in Houston,TX

    Romney's firing of Big Bird is more than just firing Big Bird. Sesame Street itself is a national treasury and it is viewed all over the world in numerous languages. My grandchildren watch Sesame Street weekly. Why would Romney want to eliminate PBS to reduce the deflicit is something I do not understan? It hurts children more than it helps the deflicit.

    October 4, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    Cedar Rapids

    "California – Obama was literally dumbfounded."

    I think we all were when Romney said he would cut funding tor PBS and told Lehrer he would be out of a job. What was romney thinking?

    That entire segment came across as a man who is not entirely sure of what he's talking about .... Romney that is. Guess it was one of those "zingers" he spent months practicing?

    October 4, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  11. TheBearFlies

    It's a good thing CNN is spending it's time focusing on Big Bird and PBS! Lets not focus on debt, jobs, healthcare, Simpson Bowles, Dodd Frank. Oh and let's blame the moderator for Obamas beat down not his leadership the last 3.5 years! There is a reason the president did not want to talk about his leadership.

    October 4, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. Just me

    Romney had 11% more Facebook mentions than Obama during the debate. But overall on Wednesday, the president was mentioned more than half a million times more than Romney. Obama had over 2.5 million unique Facebook mentions, compared to nearly 1.9 million from Romney.

    Pardon my Frenc, but who the ........ cares who had howmany mentions on Facebook. Does F/B now decide our elections?

    October 4, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. RealityBites

    ", the words "Big Bird" were posted to Facebook more times than "taxes," "Obamacare," "insurance," "Medicare" or "education."

    A good indication of the mentality of facebook users...

    October 4, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. Paul

    PBS takes up like 0.00000000000001% of the federal budget and Romney wants to cut that while he wants to spend another 2 trillion on Military spending for the alien invasion on the way from Plant Kolub!

    October 4, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. rs

    truth hurts-
    The cut of PBS revealled Mr. Romney's true colors-and yet another lie.
    First, both NPR and PBS are lergely (but nowhere near completely) paid for by the federal government. Once again Romney shows his disdain for common Americans. NPR and PBS were put in place by the government to provide a bias-free alternative for news, and a place where educational material might be accessed on TV when TV was the so-called "vast wasteland" (it still is, only bigger). Ending PBS and NPR has been a 30 year goal for the GOP- they just don't like that it provides unbiased news and educational stuff for free.

    The big elephant in the room is Mr. Romney's continued call to cut taxes for the rich- something he danced around all last night- essentially he lied- he still wants to cut taxes for the very rich by ANOTHER 10 points- and it still isn't paid for in his budget no matter what he claims regarding deductions. Combine that with his lies about Medicare and we see: GEORGE W. BUSH!

    No thanks- been there, done that. Trickle-down is a failed economic theory- it gave us the greatest number of millionaires and billionaires than at any time in our history- but no jobs to speak of. To stimulate the economy, people have to buy stull. Those 1 or 2% who benefit most from GOP tax policy do not and cannot buy enough to do that. Only the middle class can create the demand for goods and services that will result in job creation.

    October 4, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  16. truth hurts

    I guess we can expect a new Obama commercial tomorrow showing Romney wheeling Big Bird to the cliff and throwing him over! But of course we all know Big Bird can fly all by himself as he makes millions and millions of dollars. The federal government needs to get back to the basics. We can't afford anymore of these niceties, especially when they can fund themselves.

    October 4, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. Lee

    If everyone who is upset about the funding cuts to PBS would make a charitable contribution to PBS, all of the programming will be saved. I love PBS and I am a donor because I enjoy the station. But I want my tax dollars to go to real problems. Please don't complain if you aren't gong to make a choice to make a difference.

    October 4, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  18. Malory Archer

    While I'm disappointed in President Obama's lackluster performance last night and his not calling out his challenger's lies, it won't change my vote.

    His challenger did nothing more than parrot slogans from his campaign commercials. Granted, with months of rehearsal he was able to pull it off flawlessly. However, it was just warmed over rehashed fluff that provided no specifics and amounted to a bunch of nothing, and at times he sounded whiney and desparate.

    October 4, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  19. heywood

    What i didnt hear was how the entire congress, administration, elected or appointed, would take a 50% paycut to help with the the budget. How can they ask the people of this country to tighten their belts while they over spend?
    I wanted to hear both of these wealthy men say that they are willing to slash the Presidents salary by 50 – 75%.
    Theres no way you can ask ceo's of bailed out companies to forego wages and bonuses when the people who threw this economy into this mess go unscathed. The People need to be a little more angry about this.

    October 4, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. Larry in Houston

    doesn't matter if he cuts funding for PBS or not – I'm a democrat – and I've been predicting obama will end up losing the election. It's all about Jobs – not big bird. Trying to win re-election, is like trying to climb Mt.Everest barefoot for Obama.
    I've always said that I will vote a straight Dem ticket in a republican state, but IF I was in a "swing state" or what some would call a battleground state, and IF I was Out Of Work, or constantly Looking for a Job, and couldnt Fine One, I definitely would not be voting for obama.
    Vote Democrat – 2012 ( for the "working" middle class, making under 75K per household)

    October 4, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. James

    How can Romney fire us? Obama already put us out of work. I'm tired of funding PBS as it is just a mouthpiece for liberal Dems. Why should I have to pay for it?

    October 4, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. Observer

    Story of first debate: Mitt wants to kill off "Big Bird"!

    October 4, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  23. Marty, FL

    truth hurts,
    Romney overlooks the fact that PBS employs many hardworking Americans.

    Then again, Mitt does not worry/care about the 47% of hardworking Americans, seniors, veterans, etc. as he stated at his elitist $50K per plate function.

    October 4, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  24. Bill

    Your noon news show focusing on big bird, are you kidding me???????? Your anchor is why to bias!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 4, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  25. kate

    As a former republican......and I will never vote republican again. Romney is not presidential.....just because he wins a debate and tells people right on stage he will fire them doesn't make him presidential. . HMMMMMM...don't want him talking to foreign leaders. He wants to be president for his ego not because he cares about the people. I am afraid he will take us to another war also. Obama is more presidential and a leader. GO OBAMA...

    October 4, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
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