“Zero Dark Thirsty,” “Swig and a Miss,” “Parch Madness,” “Tough Swallow,” “Just Add Water,” and “Water Under the Bridge” were a handful of the phrases used on-air by MSNBC on Wednesday to mock Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio for awkwardly pausing to take a sip of water while delivering the official Republican response to the State of the Union address.
Throughout the broadcast day, between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. EST, MSNBC showed a replay of Rubio’s swig approximately 155 times — 101 of which came during “The Rachel Maddow Show,” which played the moment on loop at the bottom of the screen for more than 13 minutes.
One MSNBC personality even used props to get a few extra jabs in.
“With the Republican’s savior [Marco] Rubio’s big night — and what a night it was,” MSNBC “PoliticsNation” host Al Sharpton shouted on-air at one point, before leaning sharply to his right and retrieving a small bottle of water. “OK, OK, where was I?” he asked incredulously, while drinking some of the water. “Sen. Rubio laid out the right-wing vision for America. And oh, what was I saying? Rubio bent the truth last night.”
After immediately pausing again to sip from a slightly larger water bottle, Sharpton exclaimed, “I’m hydrating just like the senator. Yep, we’re having some fun, like the rest of America, with Marco Rubio’s epic water fail. …”
“And it lit up Twitter — 9,200 tweets per minute,” Sharpton continued. “Sen. Rubio’s in on the fun himself, tweeting out a picture of his famous water bottle. But what Rubio was saying before and after his water cooler moment wasn’t so funny. That’s coming up, right after I finish my drink,” Sharpton said, before appearing to go in for yet another drink of water — this time from a five-gallon container.
MSNBC’s competitors replayed the video far less frequently. Taking second place with curious interest was CNN, which gave its viewers 34 plays of the incident from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST on Wednesday. Twenty of those came during Wolf Blitzer’s three-hour long “The Situation Room.”
Blitzer even suggested the incident could be a potential “career-ender” for Rubio. (RELATED: CNN hyperventilates over Rubio’s awkward State of the Union swig)
“So can a drink of water make or break a political career?” Blitzer asked. “A U.S. Senator, possible presidential candidate. We’re going to find out, whether he likes it or not.”
At the end of Blitzer’s broadcast, CNN contributor Jeanne Moos took a look at the Internet and media obsession with the incident.
However, if not for the cable news obsession with the water incident, the total replay count might not have even broken double digits on Fox News. The network’s viewers were treated to the replay 12 times from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST, with the majority of those replays coming during “The O’Reilly Factor” and “Hannity,” which critiqued the media for making a big deal over the incident.