WASHINGTON -- Sen. Marco Rubio's sip of water near the end of his response to President Obama's State of the Union was the thirst quencher that sent people flocking to Twitter.
The social media site blew up when the Florida Republican reached for a bottle of Poland Spring water as he was outlining the GOP's vision to help the middle class. His speech text ran for five pages, about half the length of Obama's remarks.
Abby Huntsman, the daughter of former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman tweeted: "That water bottle shouldn't have been so far for him to grab. Too much awkwardness in one speech! #Rubio #SOTU."
Another from Ana Marie Cox, a blogger and the founding editor of Wonkette: "Speech with which Rubio stepped to the side to grab a drink inversely proportional to how long he wanted it. POOR GUY."
Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist who helped elect President Bill Cllinton, tweeted, "Marco Rubio, the man you want to have a desperate gulp of water with."
In recognition of his social-media moment, Rubio took to Twitter as well and posted a photo of the small bottle of water. It appeared to be drained of its contents.
Twitter said there were about 9,200 tweets per minute at about 10:43 p.m. ET, after Rubio's sip of water. For a short time, #watergate and Poland Spring were trending on the micro-blogging site.
Some Republicans sympathized with Rubio's plight. GOP strategist Mike Murphy said on Twitter that the incident detracted from the content of the senator's remarks. "Strong material but the trivial water bit will get endless attention. #LifeUnfair."
Garrett Jackson, who was GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's "body man" during the 2012 campaign, blamed the incident on poor staff work. "I would have had that water bottle closer, had it been the Gov," Jackson said on Twitter. "Haha. Marco needs an aide."
Catalina Camia, USA TODAY