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Poor Mitt Romney. You'd think losing last week's election would have been enough of a kick in the teeth. But as the GOP tries to collectively sort out its troubles and figure out where it all went wrong, Mitt is suffering a new injustice: losing Facebook friends by the boatload. As in, several every minute. While he started out with so many, it looks like those who supported Romney in the election are choosing to "unlike" the candidate rather than to, say, just forget they ever liked him, kind of like all those stupid likes you make of businesses just so you can get a coupon. That is to say: people are actively clicking the "unlike" button on Romney's page.

One site has taken up the task to tracking this trend and God bless you, Disappearing Romney, for keeping the candidates honest.

Ne Jersey Gov. Chris Christie presides over a state that has suffered the bulk of the damage and destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy. The Jersey shore alone has accounted for scores of dead, millions of dollars in damage and miles of homes razed.

While federal relief pours in and private donations and efforts mount, Christie has reached out to a higher authority: Justin Bieber. He tweeted to his nearly 280,000 followers that he needs Bieber, of whom Christie's kids are "huge fans, to push people to the help line to get donations rolling for relief:

The Biebs, just shy of 30 million followers on Twitter, is working the donation angle. But no word from him yet on whether he'll join forces with Gov. Christie. It would certainly be bigger news that some simple words of appreciation for President Obama.

UPDATE: Bieber to the rescue. The Canadian Prince of All Media retweeted Christie's plea, garnering at least 1,441 retweets and 734 favorites. It will be interesting to see if that leads to an outpouring of assistance though.

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FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics are two sites that have garnered acclaim and traffic during the election season as voters try to get a leg up of the latest prognostications. While we can't know exactly how the election will turn out, these sites have forecasting down to a science. But there's another website that could give us a peek into who will win this year's hotly contested presidential election: Google. The megabeheamoth search engine is actually a source of tremendous - and entertaining - data and some it of can actually correlate with election outcomes as Seth Stephens-Davidowitz explored at the New York Times.

While so much of the information gleaned from the search data is either ridiculous - the popularity of "Paul Ryan shirtless" - or superfluous - how the number of searches of a candidate in a region corresponds to their popularity in said area - there are some useful tidbits to be pulled for the campaigns, particularly in terms of voter turn-out. Says Stephens-Davidowitz:

If search rates for voting information were higher in the first half of October 2008 than in the first half of October 2004, voting rates tended to be higher in 2008 than in 2004. It's true for midterm elections, too. If search rates for voting information were higher in the first half of October 2010 than in the first half of October 2006, voting rates tended to be higher in 2010 than in 2006.

This predictive power was significantly stronger than that of other variables we might use to predict area-level turnout, like changes in registration rates or movement in early voting.


Of course, there's plenty of garbage to sift through as well, as Stephens-Davidowitz notes, including searches about Romney and Mormon underwear as well as Obama and racist epithets. Still, once you look past the noise, there may just be some patterns worth teasing out, adding to the stacks of numbers already being crunched for November 6.

The Obama - Romney Denver debate

Chicago Sun-Times columnists and reporters will be livetweeting the Denver presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Follow along here, at suntimes.com, blogs.suntimes.com/politics or via Twitter.

Storified by Chicago Sun-Times · Thu, Oct 04 2012 10:46:25

Live tweets, blogging, thoughts and reactions from tonight's debate:

Back in the saddle! Here's our roundup of debate fact-checks so far. What else should we check? Use #PolitiFactThis http://ow.ly/edyiIPolitiFact
They should bring in Carol Marin to moderate the next #debate. She would have stopped the filibustering.Mark Brown
To steal from National League's #2 wild card, it will be a #happyflight for Romney. Less so on Air Force One. #debateMark Brown
When CNN says perception is POTUS "appeared listless" and MSNBC says Team Obama may have to change strategy, well.Richard Roeper
Chris Matthews on MSNBC just tearing into POTUS. "Where was Obama? What was Romney doing tonight? He was WINNING!"Richard Roeper
9:38 | NEIL STEINBERG: They're running the highlights reel. Once was plenty. See you all Oct. 11 .... drive safely. 
# debate -- So box score, Romney bests Obama on points, lives to fight another day.Neil Steinberg
No mention of 47 percent or Bain during #debate, Blitzer notes. Hadn't thought of it. He's right. #denverdebateMark Brown
#debate -- CBS calls it "a very lively evening." You've got to be kidding....Neil Steinberg
Except for the most committed, Obama fans are going to wonder why he didn't bring his A game. #debateMark Brown
Bad form for Romney to don that "2012 Champions" hat and T-shirt onstage.Richard Roeper
9:33 | Steve Huntley: I know this debate was about domestic policy, but moderator Jim Lehrer missed an opportunity in not bringing up the top foreign policy issue of the day -- Libya and all the questions surrounding the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens.
#debate -- Free at last, until Oct. 11. Both run into the arms of their loved ones. And so to bed.Neil Steinberg
#debate Expectations for this debate were that Obama had far less to lose but Romney had to gain. And did gain---a little.Carol Marin
#debate -- Now Romney, he's concerned about America. Shadows under his eyes. Like a Disney anamatronic. Promising pie in the sky a jobs...Neil Steinberg
9:30 | Steve Huntley: Obama complains about Romney not offering specifics but packs his closing statement with vague generalities and platitudes.
#debate -- he keeps looking up with an "is this over" expression. Now, "fight every single day." A little flash. But not enough.Neil Steinberg
When POTUS finishes this speech, Romney should just say, "I'm good."Richard Roeper
Regardless of who you support, it's tough to make the argument Obama won this debate. This was a good night for Romney.Richard Roeper
#debate "Terrific debate" said Obama.Carol Marin
#debate -- Obama is thanking people in his two minutes. Now a history lesson. He likes the American people. He met a woman who has a job.Neil Steinberg
9:27 | NEIL STEINBERG: Obama ends as he began, looking tired and little hesitant. His trademark eloquence just not there, completely. Not that he did poorly. But he left Romney standing. 
#Debate #DenverDebate Obama's best takedown: How will Romney be able to work with Democrats if on Day One he wants to repeal ObamacareLynn Sweet
9:25 | Steve Huntley: In answering what to do about the gridlock in Washington, Romney cites his record of working with an 85 percent Democratic legislature and cited that as evidence he could get Washington working again.
#debate Three minutes can feel like three hours in a debate like this.Carol Marin
#debate Four minutes left. Obama--is there a response to Romney's last filibuster?Carol Marin
9:24 | Mary Mitchell: Romney's : "You are entitled to your own airplane and your own house, but not to your own facts."---Zinger. But does that make Romney more likeable to the undecideds?
And we have an instant @SilentJimLehrer Twitter account, with 3,500 Followers and counting...Richard Roeper
The 'spot' on Romney's flag pin is the Secret Service star logo, given to him by his security. That's pretty cool.Richard Roeper
#debate Okay, time to talk about this debate format. Not working. Not working.Carol Marin
9:19 | Mary Mitchell: Gov. Romney is a great debater...no matter what the question,  Romney was able to turn the response into an opportunity to attack Obama's position on every issue.
@MittRomney says America must: "Maintain our commitment to religious toleranance and freedom in this country." #Denverdebatenatasha korecki
9:18 | Steve Huntley: Romney again turns the liberals' "trickle down" phrase against Obama by talking about how "trickle down government" has failed to bring prosperity to the country.
@MittRomney: "We know the path we're taking is not working, it's time for a new path." #Denverdebatenatasha korecki
There he goes again. "Trickle down government." Have to admit its kinda catchy. #debate #denverdebateMark Brown
@MittRomney: "I don't believe in cutting the military, I believe in maintaining the strength of our military." #Denverdebatesnatasha korecki
Obama: "The genius in America is the free enterprise system." #Denverdebatenatasha korecki
#CNN time clock has Obama 3 mins ahead on time before even starting this answer. #debate #denverdebateMark Brown
#debate Do I feel more secure if a private insurance company decides I don't really need a new knee? Who do I appeal to?Carol Marin
Mitt likes Arne Duncan. Has said nice things about him before.Lynn Sweet
I can't believe Don Draper has pulled off another identity switch. He's utterly convincing as the GOP candidate. #DebateRichard Roeper
#Debate Mitt soundbite "It is time for a new path"Lynn Sweet
#Debate Mitt ...ya may not agree with him, but much crisper on what the role of government is.. Point is for style, not substance.Lynn Sweet
#Debate Obama on Better Together. Thats from Saguaro Seminar on Civic Engagement..Obama an alum...way back in the dayLynn Sweet
#debate Will Bill Clinton please step in and explain this in distinctly clear terms?Carol Marin
Romney: "private market and individual responsibility always work best." Hasn't worked great in health care. #debate #denverdebateMark Brown
#debate "I like the way we did it in Massachusetts." Romneycare but not Obamacare because of who voted for it?Carol Marin
Romney:Republican genius -- fail to cooperate and then blame Obama for not having Republican involvement.Neil Steinberg
9:02 | Steve Huntley: Romney scores again by noting that Romneycare passed with bipartisan support in Massachusetts while Obamacare squeaked through on a strictly partisan vote.
#debate The candidates have to stop moderating the moderator.Carol Marin
Are people who AREN'T be paid to watch this still tuning in? Or is it just pundits?Neil Steinberg
8:58 | Steve Huntley: Romney scores again by tagging Obama for spending 2 years passing Obamacare instead of working to fix the economy.
Romney delivers his set piece against ObamaCare to good effect, then seals it with a well-earned smirk at the end.Neil Steinberg
8:57 | Steve Huntley: Romney succinctly sums up the cause of the Great Recession as too many unqualified people getting loans to buy homes they couldn't afford.
Can"t blame Romney for talking over Lehrer. He's consistently had less time than Obama. #debate #denverdebateMark Brown
"Does anybody think the big problem we had was too much regulation of Wall Street"? Nice one, Mr. President.Neil Steinberg
8:53 | Mary Mitchell:  Romney's quite a fast talker or at least that's how he's coming off in the debate.
Glanced at the Twitter feed -- if the whole world is tweeting, who's reading it?Neil Steinberg
8:52 | Mary Mitchell: Obama has the habit of letting his opponent cut him off. He did that during his debates with Hillary Clinton. He's letting  Romney cross talk him too much.
Romney walking thin line. Assertive is good. Talking too much over the moderator can backfire.Richard Roeper
8:51 | NEIL STEINBERG -- Mitt Romney is a fan of regulation, because regulation tells you which Caribbean islands to stash his money on. 
Obama scores with terrified seniors and we soon-to-be terrified seniors. Mention Romney's emergency room plan.Neil Steinberg
8:50 | RICHARD ROEPER: We're near the halfway point of the debate, which is already running long, ala the Academy Awards. Maybe they should have had an orchestra in the pit to "play off" the candidates when their speeches ran long.
#debate STOP them. And get this organized.Carol Marin
8:49 | Steve Huntley: Romney scores a strong point in noting that the idea to inject competition into Medicare originated in the Clinton administration.
#debate Romney now firing the insurance companies?Carol Marin
Obama should explain why he has become fond of the term Obamacare. #debate #denverdebateMark Brown
Romney seems more focused and on point so far. POTUS saying "uh" too much, doesn't seem energized.Richard Roeper
#DEbate #PresidentialDebate Mitt mis-leading about supposed $716 billion in Medicare cuts...that's future cuts to providers, not patients.Lynn Sweet
#debate Enough with the grandmother. We know the story and appreciate it already. Did so four years ago.Carol Marin
8:43 | Mary Mitchell: Romney has already landed a few key punches, such as "I don't know what you are talking about."
Bain had nothing to do with shipping jobs overseas? #debateRoger Ebert
Main takeaway so far: these guys have done a good job of memorizing their talking points. Not much else. #debate #denverdebateMark Brown
#Debate #PresidentialDebate Obama on entitlements...will he bring up 47 per centers??Lynn Sweet
@MittRomney says he's never heard of a tax break for taking companies overseas: "I may have to get a new accountant." #Denverdebatesnatasha korecki
Stop these guys and make them shape up, now! #debateCarol Marin
8:39 | Steve Huntley: "50 years of what oil and gas receive" -- Romney delivers in a telling way how much more taxpayer money goes to green energy than oil and gas.
#Debate #PresidentialDebate Mitt finally mentions Solyndra--took him 38 minutes...but no folo up --so farLynn Sweet
8:39 | CAROL MARIN: Romney: "I like green energy as well" doesn't ring out as loving green energy.
#debate 39 minutes in, people. Can you summarize so far?Carol Marin
@BarackObama hitting @MittRomney on corporate tax breaks: "The oil industry gets $4 billion a year in ... corporate welfare." #Denverdebatenatasha korecki
#Debate...Obama better tax equity argument. Soundbite-- "Does anyone think Exon Mobil needs more money?"Lynn Sweet
8:35 | NEIL STEINBERG: Mitt doesn't want to go down the path to Spain. I don't know, I hear Spain is nice. Tapas. Lots of sun. Bullfights....
Romney's promise to cut help for PBS won't go over well with millions watching debate on PBS. #debateRoger Ebert
8:34 | Steve Huntley: Romney scores big by noting that the economy is growing more slowly now than when Obama extended all the Bush tax cuts because it would hurt a weak economy, but that now Obama wants to raise taxes on job creators.
I'm more of a Cookie Monster guy myself. #debateMark Brown
8:32 | Mary Mitchell:  Romney: I like big bird. I like you too (to Jim Lehrer ) really, really? 
Obama specific on deficit. Romney recites generalizations. No specifics. #debateRoger Ebert
@MittRomney says he "loves" Sesame Street and Jim Lehrer but: "I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS." #debatenatasha korecki
#debate If Romney is going to undercut Big Bird, what the heck does this mean for Elmo. DO NOT HURT Elmo!Carol Marin
If people want a debate with no real control by the moderator, they're getting it. #debate #denverdebateMark Brown
Did Romney say he was going to kill Big Bird?Carol Marin
#Debate Mitt on his cuts...well done in personal touch with Obamacare, PBS...though he likes Big BirdLynn Sweet
8:29 | NEIL STEINBERG: Obama is on the defensive -- that's bad, for him. 
"I'm sorry, Jim, I'll stop subsidy to PBS"?#debateCarol Marin
LIVE from the Emanuel debate watching party - Sun-Times PoliticsSun-Times reporter Mitch Dudek is following Mayor Rahm Emanuel tonight -- watching the debate in Alderman Michelle Harris' family room --...
Oh no, now Romney is doing math!Carol Marin
Obama needs to use the "Bush" word. #debateRoger Ebert
Arguing about who gets the first and last word...bad idea. #debateCarol Marin
"Bill Clinton"....second reference by name, second reference by math & arithmetic.#debateCarol Marin
#Debate Obama couldn't help himself...telling Jim Lehrer he might want to move on to another topic. Deduct 1 point.Lynn Sweet
"Math", "Arithmetic"....can you guys do some calculus? #debateCarol Marin
Romney's tight little pitying smile. #debateRoger Ebert
8:22 | Steve Huntley: Romney makes a strong point in that Obama's plan would raise taxes on employers who hire a quarter of all workers.
#Debate Moderator Jim Lehrer perhaps too laid back toniteLynn Sweet
8:21 | Mary Mitchell:  It's math. It's arithmetic...so. so.
Density of data...for both these guys...does not necessarily yield clarity.#debateCarol Marin
8:21 | Steve Huntley: "Donald Trump doesn't like to think of himself as small anything" -- weak Obama joke falls flat. Did hear a single laugh.
#Debate Obama soundbite "His big bold idea is never mind"Lynn Sweet
Romney: I will not reduce the taxes paid by high income Americans. Rich people scratching their heads: he won"t?#debateMark Brown
8:18 | Steve Huntley: Obama cites a discredit study alleging Romney's tax plan would raise taxes on the middle class.
#Debate...Will Romney be pressured to name some tax breaks he will end?Lynn Sweet
8:18 | Mary Mitchell: Gov. Romney's:  I've got five boys I am used to people saying something that is not true but think I'll believe it because they keep saying it---that may not be a direct quote, but you get the point--zinger.
8:17 | Steve Huntley: Good Romney line about Obama's misrepresentation of his tax plan: "I've got five boys, so I'm used to people saying something and hoping I'll believe it."
8:17 | CAROL MARIN: Romney trying to cram too many facts into one answer. Obama responds...a bit more slowly...Romney jumps in...And Lehrer tries...but does not succeed...to interrupt. He needs to start showing some muscle early on these guys.
#Debate...Obama--who has been told to be concise--is rambling on tax question..now caught in trap of quarreling over $5 trillion tax cutLynn Sweet
8:16 | Mary Mitchell: President Obama had better start lobbing some zingers of his own.
Just off-camera, Emmett Smith waiting in the wings with Just For Men for both candidates. Could be a game-changer! #DebateRichard Roeper
8:15 | NEIL STEINBERG: No wonder we focus on zingers -- 20 seconds of wonky tax talk and we start to glaze over. "Why this is hell, nor am I out of it." Christopher Marlowe. 
8:14 | MARY MITCHELL:  Romney is lobbing some zingers---"not due to his policy in spite of his policy" response on the energy question was a good one.
#debate On Ties: Obama blue state blue; Romney red state red. Just wanted to point out...Lynn Sweet
8:12 | CAROL MARIN: Obama:  "I want to hire...I want to pass"....first person commander-in-chief.... Romney: Lehrer asks if he has a question for President...Sure, he says.  But offers statement. Jim Lehrer has a tough job here.
Switchero. Romney says *Obama* in favor of trickle-down. #debateRoger Ebert
The proverbial lady with a baby. #debateRoger Ebert
#debate -- Did Mitt forget to cut his hair? He doesn't look afraid -- just sort of low-level hysterical.Neil Steinberg
8:08 | Steve Huntley: Romney cuts to the heart of the choice in this campaign: big government vs. limited government.
#Debate Obama's phrase "economic patriotism" has been in play for a few weeksLynn Sweet
8:08 | Steve Huntley: Romney offers crisp summation of his campaign promises.
8:08 | Steve Huntley: Romney gets off to a good start with telling ancedotes of people suffering in the poor economy.
Mitt scores. More comfortable. Classy followup to Obama's greetingNeil Steinberg
8:07 | Steve Huntley: The term "economic patriotism" sounds increasingly shallow.
Obama has fear in his eyes.Neil Steinberg
8:06 | Steve Huntley: Obama kicks off debate with familiar campaign rhetoric mis-characterizing Romney's tax position.
He could have waited to work the anniversary line into the debate. Trivialized an important question.Mark Brown
Anniversary greetings? Really? Hmmmm....Neil Steinberg
Blue and red ties -- geez, it's like a uniform.Neil Steinberg

The pre-debate reporting and tweeting:

7:59 | MARY MITCHELL:  Why is Valerie Jarrett wearing that fuddy duddy shawl? And why a coin toss to introduce the wives of candidate. Michelle Obama is the first lady!!!! She should have been introduced first.
7:54 | NEIL STEINBERG: So if we consider each six-minute segment of the 90 minute debate a "round," then which round of the 15 round match will be the deciding one? I almost said Obama delivers a KO in the 9th, but that sounds too partisan, and I still sort of hope he has some kind of gibbering Captain Queeg-like breakdown, cause really, who expects that? 
#debate -- Ten minute til -- the popcorn is popping in the kitchen. Too soon? Too late now, we've passed the point of no return, popcornwiseNeil Steinberg
Oh wow, @ebertchicago is live Tweeting this. Get ready for some SCORCHING critiques of the camera angles. #debatePatton Oswalt
#Debate moderator Jim Lehrer admonishing audience to...he is saying it politely...to shut up and not cheer and clapLynn Sweet
7:50 | NEIL STEINBERG -- So you think Jon Stewart moderates the debate four years from now? I'd pay to see that.  Assuming of course we still have a democracy then.....
#Debate...Ann Romney in white, Michelle Obama in blueLynn Sweet
#Debate Ann Romney, Michelle Obama HUG in debate hall....Lynn Sweet
#debate -- The pre-debate spin seems to be all about emotion, one-liners, body language. Thank God there aren't any problems facing the USA.Neil Steinberg
Finally, a celeb! Dennis Miller, supporting actor in the1995 techie thriller "The Net," which holds up SO well! #DebateRichard Roeper
#Debate Michelle Obama sitting next to Valerie Jarrett in the debate hall...Today is Obamas' 20th anniversaryLynn Sweet
Mitts pre debate dinner: BBQ sandwhich, spaghetti from Cheesecake Factory #DebateLynn Sweet
#debate -Which network to watch?. As a longtime Uncle Walt fan, CBS is default -- or Fox for its buffoonery, jaw-dropping-bias? CBS wins.Neil Steinberg
#debate -- Another issue -- can we swear in our tweets? We haven't been briefed on that. One hand: not the paper. The other: representing itNeil Steinberg
#debate -- Forget the drama of the debates -- with all these journalists tweeting on the fly, who is going to commit a career-ending gaffe?Neil Steinberg
6:50 | Mitt Romney had debate prep refueling at Chipotle on Tuesday. Jim Acosta reports on CNN that he hit the Cheesecake Factory Wednesday evening for hit pre-debate last meal. But did he go for the Old Fashioned Burger? Or the Over-The-Top Meatloaf Sandwich?
Your Sun-Times favs live blog on the debate. At http://bit.ly/Rgn2Lj And catch theirs and others' Tweets at http://bit.ly/QYI3eFScott Fornek
This is the worst red carpet ever. I don't recognize half of these people. #DebateRichard Roeper
#Debate Debate hall beginning to fill up..Campaigns were given tickets to distribute....Easy stroke for big donors...Lynn Sweet
Sweet blog Aaron Sorkin #debate: If he were directing Obama, Romney http://bit.ly/WlOzjgLynn Sweet
#debate --- Immediacy is the enemy of accuracy. Newton M. Minow -- one "n" -- if he thought TV was a vast Wasteland, what does he call this?Neil Steinberg
No truth to rumors Obama is going to slap Presidential Seal on his lectern, say, "How you like me now?" drop mic and walk off.Richard Roeper
Sun-Times pundits live-tweet and blog. Brown, Mitchell, Marin, Huntley, Roeper, Steinberg and me. Bookmark: http://bit.ly/QYI3eERoger Ebert
#debate More in the Spin Room: Sen. Marco Rubio, Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper, former Sen. Simpson...OFA's Katie Hogan is in the house....Lynn Sweet
Aaron Sorkin #debate: If he were directing Obama, Romney - Lynn Sweet(video by Lynn Sweet) DENVER, COL.--Aaron Sorkin--writer and creator of the West Wing and The Newsroom,--now playing on HBO--was asked We...
Yes, we will be live-tweeting tonight's debate! There's also our Argument Ender app. Details: http://ow.ly/ecmOOPolitiFact
Tonight's fact-checking team (1 of 2) @AdairPolitiFact @amy_hollyfield @angieholan @asharock @loujacobson @bbowerstimesPolitiFact
Tonight's fact-checking team (2 of 2) @mollymoorhead @jonzgreenberg @katielsanders @amysherman2 @jbwogan @kelly_dyerPolitiFact
What I wrote after the 2008 Obama-McCain debate. http://bit.ly/T1A3Jy #debateRoger Ebert
Giuliani for Mitt, Wasserman Schultz for Obama making the rounds of the media center before the debate...Lynn Sweet
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel declares debate winner--before it happens - Sun-Times Politics: http://blogs.suntimes.com/politics/2012/10/emanuel_declares_debate_winner--before_it_happens.html#.UGzGti2T3_4.twitternatasha korecki
If CNN is going to insist on calling this "Debate Night in America," echoing the feel of "Football Night in America," we may need a tailgate:
2012 Presidential Debate Drinking GameThe Mitt Romney/Barack Obama debates are finally here - which means it's time for the 2012 Presidential Debate Drinking Games! So stock u...
The Ultimate Debate Drinking Game for Women. http://bit.ly/O62dWU #debateRoger Ebert
Sweet blog Obama arrives at debate: Check out his motorcade http://bit.ly/UehR6aLynn Sweet
How Obama can win a debate without saying a word: Just have the candidates walk in on a runway. http://bit.ly/VhQXti #DebateRoger Ebert
Obama and Romney as Debaters James Fallows in The Atlantic. http://bit.ly/WkRYim #DebateRoger Ebert
#debate. Festive atmosphere at debate site, University of Denver http://pic.twitter.com/s25FlcNPLynn Sweet
#debate pre-debate: politics as theater w Aaron Sorkin, Simpson, Todd & Shorenstein Center Jones http://pic.twitter.com/EADKvU8gLynn Sweet
#debate Tweeting on debate tonight. My money is on President Obama. Unflappable vs. Stiff as a board.Mary Mitchell
#debate #Coheartland Colorado Gov Hickenlooper: attack ads have limits. Pepsi never attacks CokeLynn Sweet
Obama, Romney hunker down for debate prep - Chicago Sun-TimesBy JULIE PACE Associated Press Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leaves his campaign headquarte...
"First Debate Usually Helps Challenger in Polls," sez Nate Silver, the NYTimes' number cruncher. http://nyti.ms/ODacw8 #DebateRoger Ebert
#debate @debate Obama will get the first question at the debate, according to Presidential Debate Commission co-chair FahrenkopfLynn Sweet
Reuters: "The public expectation is that Obama is going to clean his clock." http://reut.rs/SxSyJo #DebateRoger Ebert
Sweet blog Obama's Stephanie Cutter Pre Debate memo and video http://bit.ly/VgcMtgLynn Sweet
Sweet blog Republican National Committee Pre-Debate Video http://bit.ly/VgcMd0Lynn Sweet
Romney has chance to reverse '47%' momentum - Chicago Sun-TimesBY LYNN SWEET Twitter: @lynnsweet A worker labels chairs in the Magness Arena at the Daniel L. Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness, si...
Tonight's Obama/Romney debate...what are we looking for? http://fb.me/1kxbmqDjXCarol Marin
In THIS corner, in the blue trunks weighing in at 175 pounds: Mitt RRRomney!Debate? What debate? - Chicago Sun-Times: http://www.suntimes.com/news/steinberg/15515236-452/debate-what-debate.html#.UGwkc5iJ724.twitterNeil Steinberg
I feel like it's Superbowl Saturday. #DebateRoger Ebert
#Debate @Debate Just arrived Denver. Great weather.. Obama, in Nevada--breaking from debate prep-- visited Hoover Dam on Tuesday.Lynn Sweet
Sweet blog Romney does improv before debate: Funny or Die new video http://bit.ly/WdPmTxLynn Sweet
Sweet blog Obama debating Rep. Rush on WTTW in 2000: RNC revives clips http://bit.ly/U6pHPpLynn Sweet
Sweet blog Debate zingers: What's at risk for Obama, Romney http://bit.ly/VaCsHXLynn Sweet
Sun-Times columnists live-tweet about debate. Marin, Mitchell, Roeper, Steinberg, Brown, Huntley and me. Bookmark: http://bit.ly/O3cvHpRoger Ebert

Contributing to this live report:

Roger Ebert (@ebertchicago) Richard Roeper (richardroeper) Lynn Sweet (@lynnsweet) Natasha Korecki (@natashakorecki) Mark Brown (@markbrowncst) Carol Marin (@carolmarin) Neil Steinberg (@neilsteinberg) Thomas Frisbie (@thomasfrisbie)

You can always find more political coverage and Chicago Sun-Times political reporting at the following locations:The Sun-Times politics blog Election central at suntimes.com Lynn Sweet's blog The Sun-Times on Twitter (@suntimes)

President Obama had a busy day. He spoke to the United Nations, addressing a number of issues that are affecting world security and the American presidential political cycle.

He spoke to the Clinton Global Initiative, focusing on human rights and human trafficking concerns.

And, of course, he had to address the most pressing issue affecting the United States - the embarrassing reality that is the replacement referee saga in the National Football League.

After the Seattle Seahawks were gifted a game-winning touchdown as time expired agains the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football, the Internet exploded. Social media was awash, targeting the injustice suffered by Packer fans at the hands of poor referee judgement and a league that refuses to step in to correct the problem as the lockout of the regular referees drags on.

Things are so bad in NFL fandom, that even Obama felt the need to speak out with the tweet sent to the @BarackObama feed Tuesday afternoon. Of course, any federal support on the issue would probably go a long way in the swing state of Wisconsin. Seattle is solid blue on the political map anyway.

And, in case you missed it, the play in question:

Twitter addicts abound -- but not in Congress

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It once was a story when politicians did use social media to get their messages across.

But a new report in The Hill focuses on the 56 members of Congress who have not joined Twitter, noting that it's increasingly the go-to place for think tanks, advocacy groups -- and politicians -- to blast out information.

"For now, the holdouts are divided almost equally between the two parties. Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) -- part of the over-60 crowd -- is the only Senate Republican still not using Twitter. Risch's office said the senator has not ruled it out.

"He certainly sees the benefit of Twitter as a social medi[um], as demonstrated by the Usain Bolt tweets during the Olympics, but less useful as a policy discussion tool," said spokesman Brad Hoaglun.

Twitter reported 80,000 tweets per minute sent when Bolt won gold in the 200-meter this summer, a social-media record for Olympic-related conversations.

Political interest on Twitter has grown in the past few years, too. Twitter reported that tweets sent about the political conventions this year had sextupled the number sent about both 2008 conventions by the second evening of the Republican National Convention.

Sen. Marco Rubio tweets a tough American Airlines flight

He was a Republican vice presidential nominee short-lister, a prime speaker at the Republican National Convention, a Daily Show guest and is a rising star in conservative politics. But airlines are the great equalizer in America, as Marco Rubio found out.

Storified by Craig Newman · Fri, Sep 21 2012 18:39:02

#AmericanAirlines #Flight1967 #LAXatron_sefirot
Following is an exchange between Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and American Airlines as the senator waited during flight delays Friday night.
Trying to get to DC for early morning votes tonight but let's just say this has not been the best week in American Airlines history.Marco Rubio
Every American flight I have been on this week has been at least two hours late or cancelled. This one already one hour delayed.Marco Rubio
American Air says maintenance problem.Yet suddenly group of new passengers boarding.Holding plane to get connectors on from delayed flight?Marco Rubio
Delaying flight for "maintenance" to squeeze connectors from other flight, oldest trick in book.Feel bad for crew.#cmonman #AmericanAirlinesMarco Rubio
Since I am going off on #AmericanAirlines tonight, let me say pilots and flight attendants they have are top notch. #nottheirfaultMarco Rubio
Hearing from some about American sick outs. Not on this flight. Pilot member of #teaparty.Marco Rubio
Bankruptcy judge OKs 3 American Air labor ... - Chicago Sun-TimesSep 13, 2012 ... American Airlines will reduce retirement benefits and ease restrictions on outsourcing of flying to other airlines as ...
While there were apparently no sickouts on Sen. Rubio's flight Friday night, the airline has been struggling as pilots protest pay and labor conditions at the struggling air carrier:
American Airlines pilots picket at O'Hare - Chicago Sun-Times1 day ago ... As American Airlines and American Eagle say they will cancel 300 flights nationwide this week to cope with a high number ...
Oh guess what? They fixed the plane! Just as the last of the connecting passengers finished boarding. #magicMarco Rubio
Pilots are two military veterans, lovers of liberty and believers in constitution. They tell me "sickouts" is not true. Airline understaffedMarco Rubio
If the folks running the American Airlines Twitter account realized they were dealing with a U.S. senator, they certainly didn't show it. This is the boilerplate response they handed out through the day for passengers complaining about service and delays.
@marcorubio Thanks for your patience, Marco. We hope you have a great flight.American Airlines
I must now turn of my electronic device. I hope tonight's tirade didn't cost me my Executive Platinum status.Marco Rubio
Pilots reject contract with American Airlines - Chicago Sun-TimesAug 8, 2012 ... Pilots for American Airlines have expressed their anger with management by overwhelmingly rejecting the company's f...

Twitter explodes over Romney 47 percent video comments

A look at the "47 percent" firestorm as it went viral on social media Monday.

Storified by Craig Newman · Mon, Sep 17 2012 21:28:18

Mitt Romney pauses during press conference about leaked video in Costa Mesa, Calif. via @AP pic.twitter.com/hxuYlrVeCharles Dharapak
Mitt Romney on Obama Voters
SECRET VIDEO: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama VotersDuring a private fundraiser earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a small group of wealthy contributors what he truly thinks of all the voters who support President Barack Obama. He dismissed these Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don't assume responsibility for their lives, and who think government should take care of them.
Leaked Romney "47%" video goes viral; trending on Twitter - Sun-Times PoliticsMother Jones video #RomneyEncore is trending on Twitter tonight following a leaked video earlier today featuring Mitt Romney telling a group of wealthy donors at a private fund-raiser earlier this year that 47 percent of Americans take government hand-outs. A series of videos from that same event were posted on Mother Jones' Web site earlier today.
Romney tries to put out firestorm from leaked video - Sun-Times PoliticsMitt Romney holds a news conference Monday night responding to the leaked entitlement video that's causing huge headaches for his campaign tonight. "It's not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. I was speaking off the cuff in response to a question.
Is there an elegant way to say you don't care about 47% of the American people?
Here's the transcript of Romney's press conference today (and yes, the full video is coming soon): http://t.co/Q7YGT4T7
RT @MotherJones: Guys, the fact that Romney held #47percent fundraiser at sex party hedge funder isn't our #RomneyEncore. That comes tom ...
In press conf Romney said he hoped "whoever" leaked the video would release the whole thing. Ah, his wish will be granted soon! @MotherJones
So @MittRomney calls #47percent of us welfare cheats & tax dodgers. I'll show you my tax returns if you show me yours http://t.co/ZHYJZ9LS
@TwittyPolitics funny that most of the non-payers live in red states http://t.co/2ds4IT0a
Romney says nearly half of Americans don't pay taxes, 'believe they are victims': http://t.co/Nl6YNRaZ -AB
47% of america is not good enough for Romney. #RomneyEncore
RT @thedailybeast: "The Romney campaign has suddenly turned into a circular firing squad," says @HowardKurtz http://t.co/g1BW4bRo #47percent
RT @jimlairbeard: It takes some brass to insult 47% of Americans and not show your own tax returns. #Romneyencore
Another reason Mitt Romney doesn't want to release his tax returns: they may reveal he's an Obama voter.
Breaking News: Picture of President Obama at the White House watching the leaked Mitt Romney video. twitpic.com/avtgae #RomneyEncoreCaptain Pajamas
Mitt Romney, the guy who pays no taxes on millions of dollars thinks you're a welfare freeloader. God Bless 47% of America! #RomneyEncore
RT @MoveOn: "@AriBerman: Romney is the last person on earth who should lecture others about not paying taxes" #47Percent
What will Romney do for an encore? Condemn people who don't save enough for a weekend house? Use #RomneyEncore hashtag
RT @maxhandelman: I wonder what the Daily Show and Colbert Report writing staffs are up to at the moment? #romneyencore
#RomneyEncore Shiny object talking points by libs to divert the subject away from 4 dead Americans in the Middle East.
RT @kelseycombe: I think we should all donate 47 dollars to Obama tonight. #RomneyEncore
RT @king_davidwale: can a presidential candidate be impeached... #RomneyEncore #obama2012
RT @Tamarabrams: #RomneyEncore New verb: to "Romney." Meaning: to hold in contempt anyone who doesn't look, think or bank like you.
Romney, who criticizes Obama for dividing the nation, divided the nation into two groups: the makers & the moochers http://t.co/H8fBOMIx
#47Percent That's higher than Romney's polling. And also, under his own tax plan, wouldn't Romney fall under that number? #RomneyEncore
RT @chrisrockoz: Much like Kim Kardashian, Mitt Romney will be remembered for one terrible video #RomneyEncore
RT @NickKristof: "The problem with American voters is they're too stressed. They don't spend enough time on their yachts." #RomneyEncore
RT @nrothstein: First debate : 'I'll bet you the million in my pocket that your voters don't pay income taxes'-- Romney #romneyencore
#47Percent of me despises Mitt Romney. The other 53% of me finds him repugnant.
RT @ClaraJeffery: In sum: Romney has party at sexed crazed hedge funder, insults most of America. http://t.co/nZUnvYOO #47percent
#RomneyEncore Watching Mitt's response to the 47% video I was waiting for him to rip off his pants and yell "Magic underwear! Protect me!"
RT @BreeNewsome: Romney apologizes for calling #47percent of Americans "victims". Says he meant to say "lazy bastards." #RomneyEncore ht ...
RT @PoloticsChris: BREAKING: #47percent Obama lovers hate Romney for telling the truth.
Right... MT @kesgardner: Left fantasy the 1% oppress the 99% Reality: the 47% are weighing down and even oppressing the other 53% #47percent
Amazing that Mitt Romney saying that 47% of Americans are entitlement-mongering deadbeats is perceived as hyping up his base. Just sad.
RT @mrbenz7: Telling it like it is! #47percent pay little in taxes and depend on gov't services! We need an economy providing jobs!! #Ro ...
So the question is: Does a Super PAC just air a full minute of the Romney secret tape as a commercial?
RT @digiphile: "Who the #47percent are"-@DLeonhardt, 2010 http://t.co/lYZfEOIj ~10% of US households pay no net federal taxes.
PHOTO: Romney leaves a press conference after speaking about leaked video in Costa Mesa, Calif. via @AP pic.twitter.com/zcw7SB7OCharles Dharapak

Public pressure has been mounting on the Obama White House for weeks. We want clarity, Mr. President. Your administration owes the American people the truth. We want answers!

What is in your beer?

A social media and petition campaign to have the White House share it's recipe for its custom made homebrew beer finally paid off Saturday when Sam Kass declassified this particular state secret.

Kass, the assistant chef and senior policy advisor for healthy food initiatives, blogged about the beer, it's history - Obama is a homebrew fan it seems - and some of their secrets in development of the three signature brews offered:

Since our first batch of White House Honey Brown Ale, we've added the Honey Porter and have gone even further to add a Honey Blonde this past summer. Like many home brewers who add secret ingredients to make their beer unique, all of our brews have honey that we tapped from the first ever bee-hive on the South Lawn. The honey gives the beer a rich aroma and a nice finish but it doesn't sweeten it.


Sadly, the Honey Blonde recipe was not available. Yet. The American people won't stand for that secrecy for long.

Here are the recipes, or download a printable PDF here:


While President Obama took to Reddit and the Romney campaign concentrated on hastags, a new front opened on the social media political war, answering a gauntlet thrown down by Clint Eastwood.

Eastwood spent much of his unusual speech/riff/standup Thursday night at the Republican National Convention conversing with and cutting down an Invisible Obama in a chair next to him. This being the age of Twitter, it didn't take long for an @InvisibleObama to crop up to carry on the conversation.

President Obama - the visible one - got in on the act, too. Through his official Twitter account, an answer was released:

And, of course, the inevitable meme cropped up - Eastwooding. Or, #eastwooding, if you prefer, which is basically a bunch of folks uploading pictures of them talking to their chairs. A bunch of photos and tweets on the meme can be found here.

Photos like this:

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