If you didn't see a candidate you could agree with on the stage in Denver last night, your future president might have been on Twitter. As President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney traded jabs during the first debate on Wednesday, former New Mexico governor and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson was looking for support online.
Johnson has embraced social media as a way—his only way—to get his message out. Like he did during some of the Republican debates, Johnson answered the moderators' questions on Twitter. What is the former governor's opinion of the two major party candidates? He's not a fan.
“Obama and Romney are the last politicians I would ever trust to discuss a big bold idea,” Johnson wrote.
Many on Twitter agreed. In less than one minute, Johnson's statement had been retweeted more than 200 times. It was retweeted more than 700 times by the end of the evening.
In all, Johnson sent about 20 tweets during the debate and even hosted a Google+ hangout that was later uploaded to YouTube and posted on Twitter.
The video proved to be very popular on Wednesday night, gaining 5,000 comments and more than 2,000 likes.
During the debate, Johnson sat in a nondescript hotel room responding to each candidate. At times he was visibly agitated by what each candidate was saying, even shrieking at his television screen at times. Obama was the recipient of most of Johnson's tweets, not surprising considering Johnson was a member of the Republican party when he served as governor of New Mexico. But Romney wasn’t left out either, especially when it came to health care.
“There is one candidate for President who has NEVER advocated government-run healthcare. #GaryJohnsonForPresident, Johnson tweeted, before continuing “Romneycare. Obamacare. Po-tay-to. Po-tah-to. No matter what you call it, it's still the same thing.”
Both statements were retweeted hundreds of times.
For a while it seemed that Johnson's presence on Twitter was having an effect and #GaryJohnsonForPresident was trending, according to the campaign. However, that was more likely because of an organized effort to “bomb” Twitter with the hashtag. In late September, a group of Facebook users created the event “#GaryJohnsonForPresident Twitter Bomb,” which urged followers to tweet as much as they can, almost once a minute, to boost their candidate. The effort worked.
Photo via Gary Johnson/YouTube