When a fly landed on Mike Pence’s head during the vice presidential debate and stayed there for nearly two minutes, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden jumped on the immediately. Within minutes, the Biden campaign was selling fly swatters, branded with the Biden-Harris logo, and they sold out overnight. Nearly 35,000 units have been sold, according to the Biden campaign.
The campaign first capitalized on the fly moment by making a meme out of it, with Biden’s account tweeting a photo of the former vice president with a fly swatter. “Pitch in $5 to help this campaign fly,” the tweet read.
Biden’s account then tweeted a link to flywillvote.com. The website redirects users to iwillvote.com, a voter registration site paid for by the Democratic National Committee where people can check if they’re registered, request a mail-in ballot and learn more about voting.
Biden’s page then advertised the blue fly swatters. Listed for $10 in the Biden campaign store, the swatters feature the phrase: “Truth over flies.”
The response was celebrated by some observers.
“You’ve gotta give it to the @JoeBiden rapid response team for REALLY being on it tonight,” tweeted Manhattan DA candidate and New York Public Defender Eliza Orlins, linking to the fly swatter.
“@JoeBiden media team has been on point in the last 12 hours!” wrote another Twitter user, linking to the campaign’s recently obtained domain.
Zach McNamara, merchandise director for the Biden campaign, said in a statement to CBS News: “We saw the internet and our supporters sharing a viral moment online, so our digital team came together on the fly to show that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will always choose truth over lies, science over fiction, and unity over division.”
“Whether it’s a t-shirt, yard sign, or fly swatter, our store of made-in-America, union-sourced merch always reflects these values and brings people together during energized moments like the debates,” McNamara’s statement said.
Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris were in a serious moment when the black bug landed on Pence’s stark white hair. Most viewers’ attention then turned to the fly, and stayed there until the pest flew away.
In an emailed statement to CBS News on Thursday morning, Tim Murtaugh, the Trump 2020 communications director, said: “The fly gave more straight answers than Kamala Harris did.”
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