POLITICS

The six pop culture pop outs of the 2012 campaign

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Yeas and Nays,Politics,Nikki Schwab

The Internet has grown up quite a bit since the 2008 election cycle, when candidates' use of YouTube and Facebook made waves and small online donations propelled Barack Obama into the White House. This time around, Twitter is the name of the game, and political memes have made the election sometimes downright goofy. We at Yeas & Nays looked back and found six moments that we think will go down in pop culture history for this cycle -- many of which were immortalized online.

Big Bird: Pundits have argued that the first presidential debate was the most important. So, following that logic, the first debate meme is the one that makes this list -- Big Bird. "Sesame Street's" yellow avian got gently prodded by Mitt Romney. Romney, in turn, received plenty of backlash from the pro-puppet set. Fans staged a Million Puppet March in D.C., Sexy Big Bird Halloween costumes flew off shelves and Big Bird even made a guest appearance on "Saturday Night Live." That's not to say "binders full of women" and "horses and bayonets" didn't also get their time too, but it's hard to forget such a large, uhhhh, bird in the room.

P90X: Before Paul Ryan, P90X was known to two demographics: fitness buffs and late-night infomercial watchers. But the intense workout regimen from Tony Horton has been thrust into the national consciousness thanks to one very fit Republican congressman -- and VP nominee. Horton found the bout of fame unexpected. "It's funny because when Paul Ryan was the pick recently, we were sitting there watching it. I was with my girlfriend, and she said, 'You know, you might get a couple of calls as a result of this.' I said, 'Oh no, I don't think anybody -- why would they call me? That seems silly,' " Horton told Yeas & Nays. "And I've probably done over 30 interviews [about it] since."

Rick Santorum sweater vest: Quick -- think of a fashion trend that came out of this campaign. That was actually a trick question because sweater vests certainly aren't fashionable. "It makes me think of seventh grade," fashionista Stacy London told Yeas & Nays as former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was wrapping up his campaign. During the GOP primaries, the vest had its own (parody) Twitter account, was used as a fundraiser for the campaign and was profiled in the New York Times' style section.

Donald Trump: We thought the Donald's flirtation with politics was over after he came to the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in 2011, as a guest of the Washington Post, and sat there while both Seth Meyers and President Obama eviscerated him. But nope, Trump kept reappearing throughout the election cycle, including his last ditch effort to meddle last month: offering POTUS $5 million to a charity of his choice in exchange for his college transcripts and passport application.

Nicki Minaj: Sure, she can count Republican Sen. Marco Rubio as one of her fans, but does the rapper really support Mitt Romney? Minaj rapped pro-Romney lyrics on a Lil Wayne mix tape, leading to speculation that she indeed supported the GOP. She cleared things up after President Obama mentioned the controversy during a radio interview. "Ha! Thank you for understanding my creative humor & sarcasm Mr. President, the smart ones always do... " she told @BarackObama via Twitter.

Clint Eastwood: There's a reason why nobody can remember what Mitt Romney said at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., and that reason was accompanied by an empty chair. Actor Clint Eastwood was given the RNC stage for 12 minutes to hold a conversation with an imaginary President Obama. And while he had some good zingers -- for instance, he called Joe Biden "kind of a grin with a body behind it" -- the amount of media attention surrounding Eastwood's speech may have stalled any momentum Romney hoped to have coming out of the convention.

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Nikki Schwab

Staff Reporter - Yeas & Nays
The Washington Examiner