This past July we used audio fingerprinting technology from the Laboratory for the Recognition and Organization of Speech and Audio at Columbia University to scan the audio of all monitored television shows for two weeks after the President’s January 2015 State of the Union address and identified every time an excerpted clip of his speech was broadcast on another television show. In this way we were able to create an interactive timeline of which portions of his speech went “viral”.
We’ve repeated that process for the first Republican debate, both the “prime” and “undercard” events, exploring which soundbites made the rounds across television news shows in the week following the debate.
For the undercard debate, Carly Fiorina was the clear winner, account for 45% of the soundbites from the debate that subsequently aired elsewhere in the following week, followed by Rick Perry at 15.7%. Both of the most-excerpted responses from the undercard debate belonged to her, with her quote “Hillary Clinton lies about Benghazi, she lies about emails. She is still defending Planned Parenthood, and she is still her party’s frontrunner” appearing 53 times and her quote “Did any of you get a phone call from Bill Clinton? I didn’t. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t given money to the foundation or donated to his wife’s Senate campaign.” appearing 47 times.
For the prime debate, Trump was the overall winner, with 30.7% of the subsequently aired soundbites being his, followed by Rand Paul at 14.1% and Chris Christie at 13.7%. The two most-excerpted statements of the debate were both by Trump, one regarding his refusal to pledge not to run as an Independent, which aired 199 times, and the second about his past misogynic Twitter comments, which aired 337 times. Rand Paul and Chris Christie’sexchange about the fourth amendment and government surveillance aired 190 times, culminating in Rand Paul’s now-famous “I know you gave [President Obama] a big hug, and if you want to give him a big hug again, go right ahead.” Ben Carson’s closing remarks about his work as a surgeon were the most-repeated of any of the candidates, with 86 rebroadcasts over the following week.