Cavalry comments galloped online as a shot by US President Barack Obama about “horses and bayonets” became the most talked about moment of the final presidential debate on Twitter.
Online sparring between supporters of Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney spiked during Monday’s debate after Romney derisively remarked that “our Navy is smaller now than (at) any time since 1917.”
Obama countered that Romney didn’t understand the modern military, saying “we also have fewer horses and bayonets” to laughter from the audience.
“We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines,” he said, adding that analysing military capabilities was not “a game of Battleship.”
The exchange quickly trended on Twitter as #horsesandbayonets and within minutes a website featuring a forlorn warrior on horseback holding a Romney banner on a pike called CavalrymenFor-Romney.com was created.
“So much sass I was not ready to handle,” one online comment read. “OMG, that’s a double burn.” Obama’s shot echoed at Tumblr.com where artists posted cartoons poking fun at a Romney military based on outdated equipment like horses.
A freshly-launched ‘Horses and Bayonets’ page at Facebook with a charging US cavalry photo bore the mocking message: “I stand with Mitt Romney. We must buy more horses and bayonets to strengthen our military.”
The Facebook page racked up more than 3,500 ‘likes’ shortly after launch. Obama’s horses and bayonets barb caused Twitter message volume during the debate to hit a peak of 105,767 tweets. “The political conversation on Twitter remained strong, with 6.5 million tweets sent about the 90-minute debate.”