Government & Politics

Man who launched a thousand memes: Ken Bone, sweater drawing crowds of conservatives

Undecided voter Ken Bone and his red sweater became a viral sensation at the second presidential debate last year.
Undecided voter Ken Bone and his red sweater became a viral sensation at the second presidential debate last year.

Remember Ken Bone? Maybe you made him into a meme last year?

He’s the mustached, undecided voter in the cuddly red sweater who launched a thousand memes and became an internet legend when he asked a question at the second 2016 presidential debate.

“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah called him a “one-man basket of adorables.” One Twitter user said Bone looked “like the human version of a hug.”

Well, he’s back for another 15 minutes of fame.

Bone is representing political software company Victory Holdings as its “chief people officer” this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, the New York Post reported.

He’s wearing his famous red Izod cardigan for his new assignment.

Do not underestimate the power of that red sweater. People are flocking to the Victory Holdings booth to take pictures with Bone at the super-sized gathering of conservatives at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Maryland.

Social media fell in love with Bone’s everyman-in-khakis persona at the debate. His star got dinged later, though, when claims turned up that he’d committed insurance fraud and looked for naked photos of Jennifer Lawrence online, among other things.

But what is still not known about Bone: Who did he vote for in November?

Though his gig with Victory Holdings has him standing shoulder-to-shoulder with conservatives this week, the company’s ad promoting his appearance is decidedly neutral, with no real message other than putting people back in charge of politics instead of “career politicians.”

“This isn't a fight between Democrats and Republicans,” Bone says in the voiceover of the ad, called “Enough is Enough. “This is people versus big money politicians.”

Mashable reports that, as it happens, Victory Holdings has two products designed to give anyone, whatever their political leanings, a boost into the game. One is DonorDex, an app that connects people with possible donors.

In a statement, the company’s executive director, Amanda Wathen, said Bone had tapped “into the heart” of American voters last year.

The red sweater guy on the second presidential debate was Kenneth Bone, 34, of Shiloh. He talked about his Internet and media celebrity the day after he was an audience member invited to ask a question of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at the pr

“Our mission of putting people in charge of politics fits hand in hand with the message that Ken has portrayed so passionately to the people in our country,” she said.