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Presidential debate sets record on Twitter

4:30 PM, Oct 4, 2012   |    comments
Nicholas Kamm, AFP/Getty Images President Obama and Mitt Romney share a friendly exchange before their first debate in Denver.
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DENVER -- President Obama and Mitt Romney were a huge sensation on Twitter Wednesday night, generating a record 10.3 million tweets over the course of their 90-minute debate.

It was the most tweeted event in political history, Twitter says, and exceeded the activity on the social media site during the political conventions. The high point, however, didn't belong to either candidate vying for the White House.

Moderator Jim Lehrer's quip "let's not" to Romney, who asked to move on to a different debate topic, generated a whopping 158,690 tweets per minute (TPM) at its peak. Lehrer's handling of the questioning and pacing of the debate opened the veteran journalist to criticism and sparked a parody Twitter account.

Other comments that sent debate-watchers to Twitter: Obama's retort "I had 5 seconds" when protesting he still had time on the clock generated more than 152,000 TPM at its peak. As for substantive issues, the discussion about Medicare came in third with nearly 150,000 tweets per minute.

Twitter's government and politics team produced a nifty graphic showing the highs and lows of activity on the social media site.

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