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Clinton vs. Trump: The comments that got the biggest reactions

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off Monday in the first of three presidential debates before the November election, and social media had a lot to say — especially about Trump.

The debate was broadcast live on all major networks, plus streaming on Twitter and Facebook. Like any other political discussion in 2016, a great deal of conversation happened on social networks around the world. Often dismissed as an echo chamber, social media can still be an indicator for future polling and the direction of the electorate.

Trump took the prize in terms of the number social media mentions — but most of those were negative. In fact, more than 65 percent of the conversations regarding Trump were negative, compared with just 56 percent involving Clinton, according to data from Brandwatch.

The debate registered more conversation than the 2016 Super Bowl, according to data from social software company Spredfast. As CNBC noted on Monday, much of that conversation involves users tweeting about they candidate they don't support.

From nearly the beginning of the debate, mentions of the boastful businessman outpaced those of the former secretary of state. What follows are are the top three conversation peaks on Twitter for each candidate, according to Brandwatch.

Trump 1: 'Stop and frisk'

Trump's biggest peak came about halfway through the debate when he had over 30,000 mentions in one minute. Many of the comments were rallying behind a tweet from Chance the Rapper who cited Trump's remarks on bringing "law and order" back to America's inner cities.


Trump was defending the use of "stop and frisk," the controversial police tactic that was found unconstitutional by a Manhattan judge in 2013. The use of stop and frisk peaked in New York in 2011, under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Trump 2: 'Winning temperament'

Trump also struck a chord toward the end of the debate when the moderator, Lester Holt, asked why Trump felt his judgment was better than Clinton's.

"I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament," Trump said to laughter from the audience. "I have a winning temperament." A recent Fox News poll of likely voters found that 59 percent felt Clinton has the temperament to "serve effectively as president" while only 38 percent said the same about Trump.

More than 27,000 people tweeted about Trump's temperament in that minute. Facebook selected the temperament statement as the "top social moment" of the debate.

Trump 3: '400 pounds'

The third-biggest peak of Trump-related conversation during the debate came during the candidates' discussion of cyber security. Over 26,000 people tweeted about Trump as he speculated that — despite the evidence — Russia may not be behind the hack of the DNC email servers. It could have been China, Trump suggested, or it "could also be somebody sitting on their bed who weighs 400 pounds," he said.

Clinton 1: 'Prepared to be president'

Clinton's top conversation peak came two-thirds through the debate when Trump provoked her over her decision to "stay home" prepping for the debate while he visited the "inner cities" of Detroit and Philadelphia. Clinton responded, "You know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president, and I think that's a good thing."

The exchange caught the attention social media as well and users tweeted 20,000 mentions of Clinton in one minute. Many of her followers cited that moment as their favorite of the debate.

Clinton 2: 'Provoked by a tweet'

Clinton earned her second-largest spike in social mentions after she delivered a barb on Trump's temperament. Clinton generated over 18,500 mentions after saying that she didn't think anyone who could be "provoked by a tweet" should have access to the country's nuclear codes.

Many of the tweets also came as responses to Clinton's Twitter account sending out the same message at nearly the same moment.

Clinton 3: 'I think it's real'

More than 17,500 tweets mentioning Clinton went out after she said that Trump thinks that climate change is a hoax.

"Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese," she said. "I think it's real."

Trump immediately denied that he had said that (though he has in fact repeatedly called global warming a hoax in a speech, on Twitter and in interviews in recent years, and has said that climate change is "for the benefit of China").

Trump then criticized Clinton for addressing economic problems as a public servant for more than thirty years and "just thinking about these solutions right now."

Clinton won last night's debate, according to 62 percent of voters who watched the debate and responded to a CNN/ORC poll. The markets also seem to have declared Clinton the winner. We'll have to wait to see whether the debate raging on social media will be reflected in national polls.