And, even though Romney didn’t utter the words that sparked the new online sensation, he became the target of a string of internet memes focusing on “horses and bayonets”.
It came after the president’s sarcastic retort to Romney’s jab about the size of the Navy, where the Republican blasted Obama for being ‘weak’ on military issues, arguing that the US Navy “is smaller now than at any time since 1917.”
Obama shot back: “Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”
And from there a new sensation swept the web, with a meme declaring “Obama just sank Romney’s battleship” generating more than 84,000 likes on Facebook and was shared more than 16,000 times in an hour.
It was the most-tweeted moment of the debate, generating 105,767 tweets per minute, while the hashtag #horsesandbayonets trended immediately, becoming the third top trend worldwide.
On Facebook, users created more than 50 pages named “Horses and Bayonets.” A Tumblr account also went online in a matter of moments, as did parody Twitter accounts.
But while most were in jest, there were some sobering thoughts emerging from the final, and last presidential debate.
“When bayonets get more attention than predator drones in 2012…ya know your country is in some trouble. Where art thou Founding Fathers?” wrote a Twitter user.