Can binders full of tweets alter views on candidates, Bears?

Even for busy suburbanites adept at juggling work, family and the desire to post that adorable baby rhinoceros video on their Facebook pages before watching TV, last night was overwhelming.

We had President Barack Obama taking on Mitt Romney in the rubber game of the three presidential debates, the Bears playing the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football, and both going head-to-head in a prime-time battle against a baseball game that determined the hated Cardinals would not be in the World Series.

Confronted with these attention-demanding options, we opt to cling to our Facebook and Twitter. Instead of watching and thinking, we can simply log on and see what snarky people have to say.

By the time the Bears kicked off, San Francisco Giants fans already had a 1-0 lead and expressed a “Yes We Cain” sentiment in honor of ace starting pitcher Matt Cain.

For those of you scoring the debate at home, the original “Yes We Can” man, Obama, had more than 10 million people following him on Twitter, according to Mitt Romney had 1.5 million Twitter followers, fewer than first lady Michelle Obama's nearly 2 million followers. Rounding out the twitter ranking, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan had 475,014 followers, Joe Biden had 276,335 and Ann Romney had 145,066, most of which are her grandchildren.

Does this mean the Obamas are more popular than the Romneys and that Ryan has more fans than Biden? Does this mean more people follow the Obamas just to see what the couple is up to? Who knows? I don't see a single tweet about what these Twitter numbers mean, and there were 1 million tweets in the first eight minutes of the debate. Much of the focus, of course, is on Obama's demeanor, Romney's smile and whatever expression shows up on the face of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.

“Mitt Romney looks much calmer, and Obama should stop nodding his head backwards and forward,” read the opening tweet from Donald “@realDonaldTrump” Trump. Piers Morgan tweeted, “President Obama is stealing Romney's 'sneer stare.'” Some said Obama looked mean and was staring daggers. Others noted that Romney was orange and sweating. Football tweeters said Cutler had a smile.

When Cutler was on his own, he looked for his go-to-guy, Brandon Marshall, for a touchdown. Romney went to Libya, Obama went to Osama bin Laden. Oh, and the Giants were kicking the Cardinals.

“Jihadists. DRINK,” read an early tweet from a debate-watcher playing the game where viewers down a shot of alcohol whenever a key word made an appearance. Meanwhile, one of your Facebook “friends” just posted something hateful and mind-numbingly stupid about the man you support for president. Do you still want to be friends with this jerk?

“Romney Shuts Down Obama: 'Attacking Me is Not An Agenda,'” tweeted Fox Nation.

“Pres Obama: Hey governor, the 1980s called, they want their foreign policy back!” countered Chris Rock.

“White guy and black guy now discussing brown people,” tweeted Onion Politics.

“Ndamukong Suh might have broke Jay Cutler in 2. Seriously,” tweeted a Bears watcher.

Monday's debate drew 6.5 million tweets. The first presidential debate generated more than 10 million tweets, most of which I didn't read. The second debate produced only 7.2 million tweets, but that's probably because lots of would-be tweeters were too busy setting up Binders Full of Women pages on Facebook, writing comical reviews of actual binders or checking to see if any of their earlier tweets about binders had been picked up by a blogger on Tumblr, or whether Tumblr still exists. Romney's phrase “Binders Full of Women” exploded onto social media with such force that it now is a viable Halloween costume, but it fell short of the 109,560 tweets Per Minute garnered by a question to Romney about immigration.

Monday's debate tried to turn Obama's “We also have fewer horses and bayonets” zinger into HorsesAndBayonets, but I don't see it trending through the week. If only Facebook and Twitter had been around 24 years ago for “You're No Jack Kennedy,” which does somehow have a Facebook page today with just 24 likes.

An “independent” voter who needs to see the best tweets from a debate before deciding which of these vastly different candidates should be president is about as likely as a Bears fan switching to the Lions after Cutler got hurt, and then switching back when to the Bears when Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher recovered a fumble to stop Detroit from scoring.

There was a general consensus that Mitt Romney won the first debate, and an understanding (clearly not accepted by all) that Obama seemed to have the upper hand in round two. The third debate clearly went to the candidate you support. And it seems as if more people might tweet about the debates than will vote in the election.

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is helped up from the field after he was sacked by Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in the first half of Monday’s game at Soldier Field. Associated Press
Cardinals fans undoubtedly didn’t have anything good to say in rweets about starting pitcher Kyle Lohse, who gave up five earned runs to the Giants in Game 7 of the National League championship series Monday in San Francisco. Associated Press
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