No Twitter record, #bindersfullofwomen and immigration: The second debate in social

Phoebe Connelly
October 17, 2012

The first presidential debate set a new record for Twitter traffic around a U.S. political event—so expectations were high that Tuesday's town hall debate might set a new mark. But at the end of the debate, the official tally from Twitter was a mere 7.3 million tweets—around 3 million shy of the record—sent over the course of the evening. The moment that saw the most discussion was the exchange between the candidates over immigration.

Our folks at The Signal took a look at the number of mentions each candidate received. Former Gov. Mitt Romney had the most mentions, but President Barack Obama surpassed the number of mentions he garnered at the first debate, while Romney declined slightly.

Romney's comment about "binders full of women" during his discussion about attempting to secure gender equality in his cabinet while governor of Massachusetts was an immediate hit with the internet crowd; it was trending on Twitter in the United States shortly after he made the remark. Why settle for a binder full of women, BuzzFeed executive editor Doree Shafrir quipped, when you could have a Trapper Keeper? Or, added Elizabeth Spiridakis, a retro FiloFax?

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As for Romney's advisors take on the moment: According to Grace Wyler of Business Insider, even senior campaign advisor Eric Fehrnstrom had trouble suppressing a laugh when discussing it after the debate in the spin room.

The binder soon had a Tumblr and a Facebook page devoted to it. Within an hour after the debate ended, the Facebook page had over 90,000 likes. Thanks to Romney's choice phrasing, Patrick Swayze (OK, 1980s Swayze) was given an opportunity to weigh in on the 2012 fight for the White House.