In another example of social media’s undeniable presence in the 2012 Presidential race, TheTeaparty.net presented the first-ever Presidential Twitter Debate on Wednesday. It was hosted by conservative Talk Radio network host Rusty Humphries, and conservative commentator and columnist S.E. Cupp tweeted the questions to candidates.
Participating in the debate were Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), businessman Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Governor Gary Johnson (R-N.M.), Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).
The debate was structured in four parts: opening statements, general and follow-up questions, questions from the public for individual candidates and closing statements. Candidates had a limited amount of time to answer each question, and they had to separate their answers into multiple tweets if they exceeded Twitter’s 140-character limit.
Candidates generally discussed the debt ceiling, balancing the budget, entitlements, the costs of fighting a war on terror, Libya, job creation, limiting the role of government, enacting policy without Congressional approval and the role of the Tea Party.
Cupp described the event a “historic moment,” and said to the candidates, “I want to congratulate you for recognizing the value of social media and its effect on the way we consume news.” At the end of the debate, Cupp tweeted: “For anyone wondering how well this did, we averaged 180 tweets per minute, over 3800 mentions, and over 4500 RTs (retweets).”
Determining who “won” the debate would be highly subjective, but the website where it was hosted, 140townhall.com, kept track of several statistics. During the debate, Bachmann received the most @mentions, and her Twitter feed added the most followers. However, Cain’s posts received the most retweets.
You can view the entire debate here.
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