Many expected Tuesday night’s vice presidential debates to be a pretty boring affair. So when Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) used his opening lines to thank “Norwood University” for their “wonderful hospitality,” debate watchers went wild on Twitter.
That’s because Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia was hosting the debate, not Norwood U ― which doesn’t exist. But that didn’t stop it from trending on Twitter minutes after the GOP vice presidential candidate’s gaffe.
Fact-checkers and debate-watchers, including students of the real host university (which was, as a reminder to Pence, Longwood University), did not go easy on the governor for making the glaring mistake five minutes into the debate.
Some people said the debate was immediately over after the mixup. Others suggested that Norwood was a rebranded version of Trump University. The mistake even inspired a new wave of students to “apply” to the imaginary college.
The best part of Pence’s flubbed show of thanks is that several Norwood Universities ― more specifically, their Twitter accounts ― were created during and after the debate.
There are at least four, if anyone’s counting: @NorwoodUniv, home of the Norfolk Terriers; @NorwoodCollege, where “good grades” are “not a condition of acceptance;” @NorwoodUni, where you can “learn” about how GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump “killed Osama Bin Laden in 1998”; and @Norwood_Edu, home of the Norwood Nancers, “where reality is subjective and the points don’t matter.”
But as Trump’s presidential running mate, Pence may have pulled off a much-needed win for the night, university mixup and “that Mexican thing” aside.
Initial polls show that the GOP veep nominee may have won the night by a small margin: 48 percent say Pence won and 42 percent say his rival, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), triumphed, according to a CNN poll with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5.
And while Pence’s mistake may have tarnished his debate track record, he isn’t the only one in his party to mess things up.
The Republican National Committee declared Pence the debate night winner on its website one hour before the debate aired live.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.