Debate Meme 3.0: Horses and Bayonets

The president's "horses and bayonets" retort was the most tweeted and Googled phrase of the night

President Barack Obama responded to criticism from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during Monday night's debate with a zinger that quickly reverberated across social media and became the most tweeted moment of the 90-minute faceoff.

During a dispute over military spending, Romney noted that "our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917" — a comment Obama mocked as out of touch.

"Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed," the president said. "We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines."

Within moments, the requisite Tumblr came alive, as did the parody Twitter accounts, including Obamas Bayonets.

It was the most tweeted moment of the debate, generating 105,767 tweets per minute, and the most searched term on Google.

As the meme continued to grow, BuzzFeed's Rebecca Berg was among the first to tweet confirmation that the U.S. Army still does use bayonets. That point was repeated in a new flood of tweets — many by users who identified themselves as military members — that sought to "fact check" Obama (who actually did not say that the military no longer used them) or cast his comment to an insult to American troops.

[View the story "#HorsesAndBayonets" on Storify]

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