US Presidential Election 2012

Stumbling politicians at risk of Tumblr

The speed of the internet means any political gaffe is satirised and placed on 10 million screens within minutes today, it appears

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2012, 4:47am

Mister chair man

The hashtag #eastwooding went viral on Twitter after Hollywood star Clint Eastwood's guest appearance at this year's Republican National Convention, where his ad lib speech focusing on an empty chair meant to represent Barack Obama baffled many. Obama's team tweeted a photo of the President sitting in a chair with his back to the camera, captioned: "This seat's taken."

Snooze operator

A widely-viewed YouTube video managed to poke fun at the otherwise gaffe-free Obama. The spoof lip-read of the first presidential debate mocks the President's lackluster performance. At one point, a sleepy-looking Obama appears to be dozing on his feet. "Yep, er, he's asleep" a wide-eyed Mitt Romney quips.

Yellow peril

Mitt Romney's "Big Bird" comment at the first debate featured widely on Twitter, with several parody accounts created. "I like PBS [the US public TV network]. I like Big Bird," Romney said at the debate, but nevertheless pledged to cut support for public television. The Twittersphere promptly exploded. "Obama killed bin Laden. Romney would put a hit on Big Bird," EliClifton joked.

Horsing around

Hot on the success of South Korea's "Gangnam Style" song, a comedy website called CollegeHumor put out "Mitt Romney Style" on YouTube. In a video meant to poke fun at the wealthy Republican challenger, a Romney look-a-like prances around horse-riding stables and golf courses to the rhythm of the original song and laughs at a waiter who has a "47%" sign on his back, a reference to his unguarded comment writing off 47 per cent of the US electorate.

Playing a binder

The second debate also provided fodder for wannabe online comics with Romney's awkward "binders full of women" remark. Asked about unequal pay, Romney responded that as Massachusetts governor, he went out of his way to add women to his staff. "I went to a number of women's groups and said, 'Can you help us find folks,' and they brought us whole binders full of women," he said. The Twittersphere lit up, and a satirical account on Tumblr, the blogging platform was set up, featuring photos of various women holding custom-made binders:


When Obama ironically mentioned during the third debate that the army had fewer "horses and bayonets" than it did before, the internet went crazy. Netizens took to Twitter to joke about it, and one page on Tumblr spawned countless parody photos: One shot of Obama leaning over to speak to Joe Biden features the caption: "Iran might get a nuke. Do we have enough horses and bayonets?"

Greetings, Ohiowa!

Saying the middle class had been buried over the past four years, confusing Iowa with Ohio in a speech … Vice-President Joe Biden has attracted a lot of attention with his gaffes. YouTube is full of videos putting them all together. His gaffes have even spawned a new word, "Bidenism."

For the ladies

Paul Ryan also spawned a few chuckles when Time published photos of Romney's running mate pumping weights with a red cap on back-to-front. The shots spurred a rash of gifs (animated pictures), funny blog posts and a fake Twitter account called PaulRyansBicep. They were published on the day of the vice-presidential debate.

Too moderate

Jim Lehrer, a respected journalist, may have regretted his decision to moderate the first presidential debate this year. By the time the debate ended, the Twittersphere was busy poking fun at the 78-year-old Lehrer, who was widely regarded as not being tough enough, and a fake account called SilentJimLehrer sprung up, garnering thousands of followers.

Click here, no here …

Lastly, the Democratic National Committee set up a website mocking Romney's tax plans. "For a detailed explanation of how the Romney-Ryan tax plan is able to cut taxes by $5 trillion without exploding the deficit or requiring tax hikes on the middle class, simply click the button below," it says. But users are unable to press the button, which reads "Get the details", as it moves to the side every time the mouse gets near: