You didn’t need a television to get a readout on the performance of the vice presidential candidates Thursday night, so long as there was Internet access.
Social media reaction during the one-and-only debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan captured each person's body tics and zingers.
The Twitter handle @LaughinJoeBiden emerged within minutes of the debate and noted every time the vice president guffawed or smirked at a comment by his Republican opponent. “Laughin Joe” attracted more than 8,000 followers by the end of the night. Another handle, @BidenSmirk, also quickly appeared online after the debate began.
Social media also featured an exchange of photos and animated GIFs of Biden laughing, smirking, and throwing up his hands. Biden's two mentions of the Irish description “malarkey” began a Twitter hashtag that immediately began to trend nationally.
“I actually happen to have "malarkey" in the drinking game! Oh geez...” tweeted political blogger and Wonkette founder Ana Marie Cox.
And while the vice president definitely generated the most lively online response, he wasn’t necessarily the definitive victor of the debate, according to online pundits.
Who was? The person refilling Ryan’s water glass. Online observers noted how often the Republican drank from his frosted tumbler.
The parody handle @PaulRyanGosling tweeted: “Hey girl, I’m not taking nervous sips of water, I’m drinking every time Biden laughs at me.”
Another photograph that circulated during the evening was a photograph of Biden holding the hand written notes he had taken. A close-up of his scribbles detailed a list that included “no apology,” and “Egyptian people." It wasn't clear if Biden meant to broadcast his notes.
As for ABC's Martha Raddatz, she drew widespread praise for nailing her role as the evening’s moderator, particularly in comparison to the way Jim Lehrer handled the first presidential debate.
Krystal Ball of msnbc's "The Cycle" announced she had a “New girl crush. #vpdebate#RaddatzRocks” while actress Eva Longoria tweeted “Martha Raddatz is best moderator ever!!!” And on Friday morning, Howard Kurtz, media commentator for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, declared “Martha Raddatz the clear winner of last night’s VP debate.”
Meanwhile, there was at least one prominent viewer of the debate who did not tweet about it. But judging from this photo from the White House Flickr feed, he was watching with great interest from Air Force One: