Big Bird puts his big orange foot down
October 9th, 2012
09:38 AM ET
2 years ago

Big Bird puts his big orange foot down

(CNN) – This is one angry bird.

After President Barack Obama's campaign released a commercial using the Sesame Street character to mock rival Mitt Romney, Big Bird's parents at Sesame Workshop asked the president's team to take it down.

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"Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns," the group wrote. "We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down."

Whether the ad airs or not remains in question – Team Obama indicated Tuesday it would air on national broadcast and cable, specifically targeting comedy shows, rather than in the usual swing states where campaigns purchase ad time. But the ad is getting plenty of free air time on newscasts as part of campaign coverage.

An Obama campaign official said they had received Sesame Workshop's statement and were reviewing their concerns.

The commercial itself is dripping with sarcasm, a tone not usually used in political commercials. It casts Big Bird as a corporate fiend akin to Bernie Madoff and Kenneth Lay.

"Criminals. Gluttons of greed," a narrator in the spot says of the notorious white collar criminals. "And the evil genius who towered over them?"

A silhouette of the famous yellow bird appears in a window, before the ad cuts to clips of Romney saying "Big Bird" on the stump.

"One man has the guts to say his name," the narrator says. "Big. Yellow. A menace to our economy. Mitt Romney knows it's not Wall Street you have to worry about, it's Sesame Street. Mitt Romney. Taking on our enemies, no matter where they nest."

At last week's debate, Romney said he would cut the federal subsidy to the Public Broadcasting Service, which airs Sesame Street, in order to help reduce the country's deficit.

Romney said Tuesday Obama's focus on the remark was puzzling given the serious issues facing the nation.

"I know there is a lot of attention being paid to the campaign these days and there is a good reason for that. I mean when you have so many people having tough times," Romney said at a campaign rally in Iowa.

"I mean these are tough times with real serious issues so you have to scratch your head when the president spends the last week talking about saving Big Bird," Romney continued to cheers and laughter. "I actually think we need to have a president who talks about saving the American people and saving good jobs and saving our future."

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (433 Responses)
  1. De Odorizer

    All I can say is: I will vote for Obama 2012. No use wasting my breath on loosing lomney.

    October 9, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. UDidntBuildThat

    Seriously?The point is not to save Big Bird – the point is that Romney was stupid enough to make a comment about eliminating a program which has been integral to American education for decades all in pursuit of substantiating the empty promises he has yet to justify. ..."
    ________________________________________
    Really? The real point is that PBS and other org. that get govt subsides should not if it means we have to borrow fr China to pay for them. The real point is that if you think PBS is "an integral to American education" then that explains our education system and it's consistent production of unintelligent fools like u. When morons like you think that the govt should just give money out to everyone without care for our debt and deficit then we end up like Greece. PBS was an example of the many wasteful spending in our govt. & Romney was just using it as that. As Obama said "it is unpatriotic" to "run up a credit card fr the bank of China in our children's name".

    October 9, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. Koch Brothers Exposed

    Romney: What? Birds vote? I am so sorry Big Bird & all your fine feathered little friends. I was completely wrong. I won't cancel your show. I am so very sorry. ROFLMAO!

    October 9, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. Hugh Jass

    "His role in the oepration was exactly that- say yes or say no to killing the guy " Dream on. President Cheney stopped the search for Osama bin Laden very early, and we made no effort under Cheney to begin looking again. Obama was surprised and told them to spend the money. Even the Republican SEAL who wrote NO EASY DAY said the kill order came down directly from the president, a huge political risk which his advisers told him not to take. You gops will say anything to make a black guy look bad.

    October 9, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain: Hey, networks, fact-check the debates in real-time and put it in the crawl!

    Billions in oil industry subsidies are OK, but spending 0.0014% of our annual budget to help educate kids, giving them a better start in school, is somehow bad.

    Mittens, the GOP, Fox, all those yahoos on the right gotta go!

    October 9, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. guido ambrosi

    put big bird on every unemployed families dining room table, feed him to everyone seeking a meal .

    October 9, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain: Hey, networks, fact-check the debates in real-time and put it in the crawl!

    @UDidntBuildThat: "Really? The real point is that PBS and other org. that get govt subsides should not if it means we have to borrow fr China to pay for them. "

    Really? Then why are we subsidizing the oil industry? They are enjoying record profits – they don't need our help. Why are we keeping tax rates for the rich the lowest in over 50 years, when they (the rich) have NOT followed through on their promise to create jobs with the extra money? (Our bad; we forgot to specify the jobs are to be created HERE in the U.S.)

    You and all the other GOPers need to grow a pair and admit that Mittens' policies – like all of the GOP's economic, military and foreign policies – are PROVEN FAILURES.

    I'm sticking with 31 straight months of private sector job growth – I'm sticking with President Obama.

    October 9, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. Bwahahahaha

    O is desparate, as he should be. The dirt is all comming out in the wash. Facts can only be pushed aside for so long. His record is dismal. His leadership is nowhere to be found. His intellectual honesty....there never was any.

    October 9, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. PJ

    Romney made a good point – is it worth it to borrow the money from China to pay for things. As a side note,the rights to Sesame Street are probably worth a fortune and it would have no problems getting picked up by a network.

    October 9, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. cutedog2

    From plush toys to ice shows, Big Bird needs about as much federal funding as Kenneth Lay. How about PBS be a self supporting network and let the federal government invest in the classroom rather than the boob tube.

    October 9, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Frank

    Udidntbuildthat sez: "that explains our education system and it's consistent production of unintelligent fools like u"

    If you're going to call someone unintelligent, you had better use contractions correctly and spell the word "you" as "you" rather than "u", or it's you that winds up looking like an unintelligent fool.

    "It's" is a contraction for "it is", so when you used "it's", that was the same as writing "that explains our education system and it is consistent production ..." Got it?

    October 9, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. shawm

    It is idiot Romney who wanted to show off his deficit reduction plan and said he is going to cut funding for Big Bird.

    But he wants to hand out trillions to his cronies at the top 1%.

    October 9, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. shawm

    It is lying Romney who wanted to show off his deficit reduction plan and said he is going to cut funding for Big Bird.

    But he wants to hand out trillions to his cronies at the top 1%.

    October 9, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. BIG BIRD IS A JOKE.. GET A LIFE BIRDIE

    Who cares if PBS or Big Bird is canceled , after all Big Bird is a multimillion dollar trademark icon and Sesame Street generates over a billion dollars in revenues. To the idiots who are making a big deal about this fake bird, learn to read to your children.

    October 9, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. Go Away Birg Bird and PBS

    why begg for money to the govertment, it is tax payers money, Sesame Street makes millions of dollars of ready.

    October 9, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. Wilson

    ""45.000 Americans die every year because they can't afford health insurance."""
    ----------------------------
    Still spouting that proven lie???? Boy some on the left are really getting desperate.

    October 9, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. There are more serious issues than Big Bird being fired...

    unemployment is one of them, gas prices going to the roof , the last thing I care about is for Big Bird.

    October 9, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. Wilson

    ""I'm sticking with 31 straight months of private sector job growth – I'm sticking with President Obama."""
    -----------------------------------
    Riiigggghhhhhtttt. That is why there are fewere people working today than when Obama took the oath of office, and why there is still over 8% real unemployment. Gotta love the liberal math. They wonder why they have no credibility left.

    October 9, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Philipe

    "So you have to scratch your head when the president spends the last week talking about saving Big Bird. I actually think we need to have a president who talks about saving the American people and saving good jobs and saving our future and also saving the family farm." – Mitt Romney

    October 9, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. ellenmakkai

    Good grief! The world is blowing up, the national economy is cratering and Obama can do nothing but snipe at the suggestion that the rich and self-sustaining Sesame Street (which my kids adored, btw) no longer receives unnecessary subsidies? Pathetic. It's time to focus on jobs, international respect, and cooperation among disagreeable lawmakers–something Obama never learned about from his thuggish Chicago trainers.

    October 9, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. Dejavu65

    Its amazing how half this country wants to support Romney when they know deep down inside his policies will destroy their lives...Pre-existing conditions(no coverage), woman's rights(gone), voucher instead of medicare for the elderly(poor coverage),involving religion more in the government(church and state), raising taxes on the middle class by allowing the middle class tax cuts to expire in 2013, raise interest rates on college loans(making it harder for kids to go to college, believes parents should pay for college out of pocket), taxing us more but yet he avoids paying taxes himself(offshore accounts,release taxes), outsourcing jobs(Bain), less regulation of banks(which started the recession in the 1st place, supports wall st), take sesame street away from kids(scrooge).....know wonder Romney talks down and disrespects middle and lower class Americans 47% around his rich friends, He knows bigots would rather see another recession than have Obama as President!!...I hope you people really know what is going to happen to the middle class if this guy who just lied about all his positions in the debate to fool simple minded people is elected..if you think it is bad now I hope you all have some super Rich friends to loan you money!!.....glad I work in the medical field and have a high paying job in demand!!

    October 9, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  22. A first

    UDidntBuildThat and others: Stop with the "borrow from China" scare tactic. That's pure BS. China only holds 8% of the U.S. debt... Biggest holder of U.S. debt: OURSELVES (by far). That's right. Americans, either through investments (T-bills, etc.) or the Social Security trust fund.

    I agree we need to get a handle on the deficit but get your facts straight. Romney will say whatever will get him elected (and he's likely to say one thing today and another tomorrow), whether it's true or not. So, perhaps to a lesser degree, will Obama and any politician. You need to fact check yourself rather than depend on politicians to tell the truth. Otherwise, you, too, sound like an idiot.

    October 9, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  23. tampajoey

    Barack Obama Acceptance Speech – DNC – 28 August 2008 :.............

    "....If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things." ~ Barrack Obama

    Vote Romney/Ryan 2012

    October 9, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  24. Thomas

    Well, OK, Big Bird is off limits.
    But the GOP better keep Grover under wraps....

    October 9, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  25. Academic

    Romney used the debate just like an etch-a-sketch. He has been campaining on a five trillion dollar tax cut for two years. Then he turned around and said he never suggested a tax cut of that magnitude and would have not taxes that increased the deficit. He promised not to raise taxes on middle classes, but said he would have across the board tax cuts paid for by removing deductions. If you have a tax cut the size he is talking about, the only deductions which would, by their elimination, generate that amount of revenue, are those which benefit primarily the middle class (mortgage interest deduction, for example).
    Romney wants to gut social security. First, he proposes to turn medicare to a voucher system, while leaving the option of traditional medicare. Of course the only people who would be able to get insurance at the price of the vouchers are the healthiest of america's elderly. Social Security would then be the only option for the sickest Americans. This would mean that the vast majority of the financial burden from medical care would still be paid by the government, while the government would also pay huge amounts to private companies to care for those requiring minimal care. This is a big payout to Romney's insurance industry donors, at the expense of starving a critical American Program.
    Romney's fiscal policies are incredibly similar to those of George W. Bush, which contributed to our massive financial difficulties. Under Obama's administration, we have stopped the bleeding, and started healing our economy. We have ended the war in Iraq, and have plans to wind down the one in Afghanistan. We captured and killed Osama Bin Laden, along with a couple dozen of his top henchmen. Before the strike, Romney criticized Obama for saying he would go into Pakistan to get Bin Laden. Obama saved the U.S. Auto industry when Romney wanted to let it die. We have ensured that people can get health care even with pre-existing conditions. We got rid of don't ask don't tell. I can't wait to see the strides forward we could make in another four years of Obama, but I hate to think of what could happen with four more years of Romney...... We could be in another great depression while also at war with Iran, and looking at $10 per gallon gasoline.
    The Republican Party drove us into a ditch and their argument is that the Democrats are not getting us out fast enough, so we should let them have the wheel back. I still have enough faith in this country to believe the American People are too smart to fall for it. If there are things left unaccomplished, it is because the Republican Party in Congress set a goal from day 1 of stopping Obama, rather than helping America.

    October 9, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
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