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The New Republic

Assume Joke Dead

November 20, 2012

ON THE EVENING of October 3, millions of people—most of the American political press included—turned on their televisions, sat down at their computers, logged on to Twitter, and began cracking jokes. Ninety minutes and ten million updates later, the first presidential debate would be the most-tweeted about political event in Twitter’s six-year history. For this, we can thank Big Bird.

“I love Big Bird,” Mitt Romney said while calling for the elimination of federal subsidies for public broadcasting. Immediately, journalists—and bloggers and pundits and regular citizens—began churning out wisecracks. “I wonder if Mitt and Ann Romney are going to celebrate tonight by eating, say, Big Bird,” The New Yo

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