NEW YORK >> Diane Sawyer’s Election Night performance left some viewers asking if she had begun celebrating Tuesday’s election a bit early.
Co-anchoring ABC News’ coverage, the veteran journalist struck a different manner from her practiced, straight-news-delivering style.
Sawyer spoke more slowly than usual while seeming to prop herself on outstretched arms at the anchor desk she shared with George Stephanopoulos.
"OK," she said at one point around 10 p.m. EST, "I wanna — can we have our music, because this is another big one here? Minnesota, we’re ready to project Minnesota, rrright now. … Well, tonight we know that President Barack has won Minnesota," she rambled on, stumbling over the president’s name.
Maybe Sawyer was just weary from the recent torrent of news.
In any case, the Twitterverse took quick notice and began cracking wise.
Her name was soon trending with unflattering posts, while a new Twitter handle, Drunk Diane Sawyer, collected hundreds of followers. An ABC spokesman did not comment.
"A bit tipsy," ”hammered" or "on pain killers, muscle relaxers, benzos or some combination" were among the jeering explanations. Another likened it to an episode of HBO’s drama "The Newsroom," where Will McAvoy, the fictitious anchorman, had eaten a couple of pot brownies before unexpectedly being summoned to his anchor desk to report a news story.
Some tweeters joked that a more fun-loving Sawyer was a ploy by ABC to boost viewership. Several Twitter followers said they were drawn to the network by word that Sawyer was behaving, by one description, "a bit wacky."
"Bad night for Romney," one tweeter summed up. "Worse night for Diane Sawyer?"