See Your First Presidential Debate In GIFs

With an assist from an unlikely character (Big Bird), last night’s opening presidential debate was the most tweeted political event in history. It was also the most GIFed, courtesy of Tumblr, which live-GIFed the debate in partnership with The Guardian.

Guardian reporter Adam Gabbatt live-blogged the debate and acted as Tumblr’s election blog guest editor, charged with curating a stream of GIFs from Tumblr editorial director Topher Price, along with Bobby Finger, Lacey Micallef and, of course, Mr. GIF.

“This won’t be like a serious news analysis of what’s going on, but it will offer a light alternative,” Gabbatt told Poynter.

All of the debate GIFs appeared live on the GIF-wich live blog; curated samples appeared on Tumblr’s Election blog and the Guardian‘s live blog.

The GIFers, perhaps, like the rest of us expecting more “zings,” didn’t have much to work with. Though the post-game consensus is that Romney won the debate, outside of a quip about loving Big Bird (while stating plainly that he’d put him/it and moderator Jim Lehrer out of work by defunding PBS, that massive drain on the federal budget) there weren’t that many big, quotable moments. In fact the biggest zing of the night was the one that went unsaid–a somewhat subdued Obama made no mention of Romney’s 47% admission or other obvious zing fodder. As @AlexBalk said: “You get a line like ‘you put your money where your heart is’ and pass up a ‘Cayman Islands’ response you’re either super-confident or done.”

Lehrer had his own zing (he snapped “Let’s not” when Romney teed up a topic by saying “Let’s talk about…” ) but generally got poor reviews for failing to keep the candidates, particularly Romney, on topic and within time limits.

But enough talk. Recap the debate in GIFs in the slide show above.
[Getty Images]TI