By Mike Saucier (@MikeTheSauce)
It was a news-packed tweet week as fall arrives and we break into full election sprint. There was the trivial: Justin Bieber throws up on stage in Glendale. There was the gravely serious: a car chase that starts in Phoenix ends with a man killing himself on live TV and border violence remained front and center with the fatal shooting of a border patrol agent near Naco. And Twitter exploded with debate reaction from influencers around the state.
Let’s start with the Romney-Obama debate. It was hard to look away from Twitter during the Denver showdown, leaving the feeling that one was multi-tasking, splitting screen time between the actual event and the social media response. And there was plenty of it.
Rep. Jeff Flake (@FlakeforSenate), running for U.S. Senate, was thrilled with Mitt Romney’s strong performance from the get-go and took the opportunity to needle his opponent Richard Carmona: “Romney is doing great! Calls Pres. Obama out for his war on coal, which is devastating to AZ @carmonaforaz shares Pres Obama’s view. #azsen”
Ginger Rough (@gingerdawnrough), digital politics page editor for the Republic, noted the ever popular intersection of drinking and debate viewing. “A little concerning that #debates is not trending on twitter but #drink is…how many people are mixing beer and politics tonight???”
Answer: A lot.
She also hit on the night’s memorable “Big Bird” line, in which Romney pledged to cut funding to PBS — adding, “I like PBS, I love Big Bird.” The Twitterverse jumped to the defense of the big yellow feathered fellow and Big Bird became a major Twitter trend, with Rough tweeting: “Twitter all a-twitter about @MittRomney‘s Sesame Street zinger. Will he really take away Big Bird, people wonder???”
Along the same line, Leigh Munsil (@leighmunsil), a defense reporter for Politico and more importantly a Scottsdale native and Cronkite school and State Press alum, tweeted: “Wall Street, Main Street, Sesame Street? #bigbird #debate”
When Big Bird started overwhelming debate Twitter chatter, she rightly tweeted, “OK YOU GUYS STOP RETWEETING BIG BIRD”
Anna Haberein (@AnnaHaberlein), communications director for Rep. Ben Quayle, observed: “This debate’s btw someone who understand how business works v. someone who doesn’t RT @seanhannity: Obama doesn’t understand basic economics”
Other Romney supporters had reason to celebrate as he scored a clear win.
Andy Tobin (@Andy_Tobin), speaker of the House: “Wow. Romney hits a home run. Pres can’t keep up. Horrible record of failure vs. vision of America success. The campaign begins. Romney WINS.”
Senator John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) couldn’t resist a boxing analogy, tweeting: “If that debate was a fight they would’ve stopped it!”
As always, there’s a debate, the analysis, then the analysis of the analysis. Tweeted Viva Mitt (@vivamitt): “@maryrabago33 @UnivisionAZ news at 10 pm just said that experts saw the debate as a tie. Wow, where did u get that info?! Name the experts.”
Mark Curtis (@mcurtis12news) of KPNX-TV: “Worst spin of the day… “Denvers altitude threw Obama off of his game in the debate” -Al Gore… Seriously?!”
Jay Feely (@jayfeely), kicker for the Cardinals and prolific Tweeter, was totally engaged on debate night.
Some were miffed that Feely expressed himself, such as when he responded to a follower who took issue with his tweets, which were pro-Mitt Romney : “Sorry I’m an American RT @FantasyPPRcpete @jayfeely i kinda wish you would stick to kicking and not tweeting about politics”
The inevitable questions about political affiliation were among many comments and questions Feely deftly fielded throughout the night: “Independent RT @JaredSarabia @jayfeely are you democrat or republican?”
And Feely appreciated some replacement ref humor at the expense of moderator Jim Lehrer, via CBS Sports.com NFL insider Mike Freeman: “That’s hilarious (maybe one thing we agree on during this debate) RT @realfreemancbs Moderator losing control like he’s a replacement ref.”
On to the car chase turned suicide.
Fox News aired a car chase that began at 7200 W. McDowell and ended 80 miles from the California border. The live feed for Fox was provided by Phoenix affiliate Channel 10 KSAZ-TV (@myfoxphoenix) as anchor Shepard Smith narrated the action.
Smith yelled “Get off it, get off it” to his Fox colleagues handling the feed but it was too late. A man got out of his car, reached into his pocket, pulled out a handgun and shot himself in the head as the Fox helicopter cameraman captured it all. Smith, aghast, went to a commercial and then apologized profusely for the mistake.
Bonnie Loftus (@phxnewsproducer), a producer at CBS 5, tweeted: “Ick – I just saw a guy shoot himself in the head twice. Once on the live chopper feed & once on the delayed Fox Cable coverage.”
Such a picturesque state will yield endless great images. Here are two from the week:
Grand Canyon NPS (@GrandCanyonNPS), Twitter site for the Grand Canyon National Park: “Photo of the Day: Amazing and extraordinary shadows and colors now. A great time of year. –ew” pic.twitter.com/kbnf2Pc4
Editor-in-Chief Robert Stieve (@azhighways) of Arizona Highways magazine: “Sunset on Saguaro Lake …” http://instagr.am/p/QOS5D9Jm0C/
Part of the beauty of Twitter is just the sheer randomness of what appears in your Twitter feed, such as these stray tweets from this week.
Amy Francisco (@ami1832), whose Twitter bio reads, “Republican Legislative District 14 Chairman, West Valley Coordinator Romney for President”: “Having a late night meeting with my two favorite guys, Ben & Jerry.”
Nina Simmons (@NinaSunshine), who, according to her bio is an “AZ native, fashonista, social butterfly, destination marketer, urban adventurer, w/ a soft spot for four-legged furry companions,” tweeted: “I feel like there is a mass exodus going on of people moving from Phoenix to the Northwest.”
Justin Bieber came to town and made headlines when he became sick on stage during his performance at Jobing.com arena in Glendale.
Comedian Frank Caliendo (@FrankCaliendo) of Tempe was one of the first to tweet about Bieber’s fever, to his 57,000+ followers: “My wife & daughter R at the Justin Bieber concert 2nite & he started throwing up on stage a 2nd time during 1 of his songs. #BieberFever “
After the torrents of Bieber tweets and headlines, Good Morning Arizona anchor Stella Inger (@StellaInger) had heard enough: “So over it KC! Sounds like a hangover? “@KimberlyABC15: Are you sick of hearing about #Bieber getting sick? Over it! #Ew #GlendaleConcert”
The Wolfpack is in AZ! Fans of “The Hangover” movies have reason for excitement: “Hangover 3” is being filmed in Arizona.
Turning to the local political realm, Nancy LaPlaca (@laplacanancy), whose bio reads, “Policy Advisor, AZ Corp Comm’r Paul Newman; expertise: elec, gas, water utilities, solar, externalities; we will elect a clean energy majority to the ACC 2012,” had some words for Vernon Parker (@VernonBParker),the Republican candidate for the 9th Congressional District and former mayor of Paradise Valley:
Parker last week delivered the weekly national GOP address and tweeted: “Earlier this morning, I had the honor of delivering the weekly #GOP address to the nation. You can watch it at http://vernonparker.com ! #AZ09”
LaPlaca also tweeted later in the week: “@MikeGrunwald I work in the middle of politics and energy in AZ, where we put the “az” in crAZy…it can be really icky…and really DUMB.”
The saga of Attorney General Tom Horne, the state’s top law-enforcement official spawned anticipatory tweets ahead of the news conference announcing allegations that he deliberately broke campaign-finance laws by coordinating with an independent expenditure committee.
And John Glenn (@JohnGlennPhx), whose bio reads “Politico, Hockey Guy, Economics, CenPho Resident, Zoning Nerd & member of several City of Phoenix boards,” tweeted: “I’m getting the sense Tom Horne’s desired run for Governor in 2014 will come to an end @ 10a this morning.”
The Flake/Carmona race is attracting more national attention. Jeremy Duda (@jeremyduda), Governor’s office reporter for the Capitol Times, tweeted: “.@NRSC drops $550K on a week’s worth of statewide ads to boost @FlakeforSenate over @CarmonaForAZ in #AZSEN race”
NRSC is the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the official Party group working to elect Republicans to the U.S. Senate.
Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie, 30, was fatally shot while on patrol Tuesday near the border town of Naco. He was stationed at the Border Patrol station in Bisbee. That station was recently named after slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Ann Kirkpatrick (@Ann_Kirkpatrick), Democratic candidate for Congress, tweeted: “Saddened to hear a Border Patrol agent was killed & another injured. These public servants risk all to protect us. They’re in my prayers.”
Joe Dana (@JoeDanaReports) of KPNX 12: “Border shooting: Ivie family member: “right now we don’t have time to be angry at anybody… we appreciate all the thoughts and prayers…”
Arizona State University junior defensive tackle Mike Pennel got in some trouble for tweeting after the team’s win: “Wow glad we won but warming the bench is a new feeling for me.” And then: “How you expect me to smile when you disrespected me on national television.” Pennel concluded: “They will probably make me shut down my Twitter for not keeping my mouth closed… Nobody else to talk you.”
The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (@phxchamber) had reason to send a celebratory tweet: “More good news for #AZ and #PHX: Arizona No. 6 in U.S. for job growth in past year” http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2012/10/03/arizona-no-6-in-us-for-job-growth.html?ana=twt … via @phxbizjournal #jobs #economy
With Phoenix Fashion Week in full swing, veteran publicist Melissa Rein (@melissarein) tweeted: “My hands are on fire from clapping like a maniac for our beautiful models and inspiring survivors #FashionablyPink”