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. BrtokebackBarry

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! First the vainglorious Obama gets shut down by Romney and then Big Bird!

    Note to Barry: Just because you fed stimulus to PBS doesn't mean you 'own' them.

    October 9, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. An Opinion

    The President asks for a specific and Gov Romney provides one. If the President and his team doesn't' like it, I think the burden is now on them to suggest an alternative and then for bother to negotiate and compromise. BUT... The President and his team immediately goes into attack and criticize mode. No wonder there is gridlock with Obama!

    If we want hope for the next four years we will need to make a change to a leader, Mitt Romney, rather than someone who lacks ideas except for how to lower the discourse and attack opponents.

    October 9, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. Philipe

    How come you never see Big Bird and Obama appearing together? IT'S BECAUSE THEY ARE ONE AND THE SAME! – Anonimous

    October 9, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  4. Rob

    Dear "An Opinion":

    Everyone has you, and you stink.

    October 9, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    since obama stole his last acceptance speech from Bob the Builder can we really be surprised that he is now using Big Bird without permission?

    October 9, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  6. Philipe

    I am still clueless though that why our president is a Nobel Prize winner. Mind boggling.

    October 9, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. Underwhelmed by my President

    Wow.....the Obamabot desperation is disturbing. And the four year experiment in failure thankfully nears its electoral end.

    October 9, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. Dorkus Maximus

    Mitt Romney wants to increase military spending by $200 billion a year in order to do battle with guys who strap grenades to their chests but domestically he won't throw a fraction of a fraction of a percent in order to give our kids a decent start at school. What's the return on investment in helping our kids learn to read compared to adding more bombs onto the pile of military stuff we'll never use?

    October 9, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. Lisa P

    An Opinion

    The President asks for a specific and Gov Romney provides one. If the President and his team doesn't' like it, I think the burden is now on them to suggest an alternative and then for bother to negotiate and compromise. BUT... The President and his team immediately goes into attack and criticize mode. No wonder there is gridlock with Obama!

    If we want hope for the next four years we will need to make a change to a leader, Mitt Romney, rather than someone who lacks ideas except for how to lower the discourse and attack opponents.
    October 9, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Gosh, one specific - do you think that was too much? Maybe Romney needs to pivot back to attacking isolated sentence fragments before it's too late!

    If you think Mitt Romney is a leader of anything, in any sense of the word, then you haven't been paying attention. A pose does not make a President, or at least not one worth having.

    October 9, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. FedUp2

    You really can't win with these people. They lie, cheat and steal, and when you point that fact out, they scream "unfair bully" at the top of their lungs. If the people are dumb enough to believe all the lies, then they deserve what they get.

    October 9, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  11. Uncle Phil

    Obama spends more time talking about BIG BIRD. And less time taking care of our foreign diplomats.
    Buy the way BHO if you wern't sleeping and paying attention at the podium last Wednesday MITT was just using PBS as an example not a promise

    October 9, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  12. Al

    Mitten is the biggest liar US has ever known.

    October 9, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  13. Mitt Snillock

    Every day this guy just continues to amaze me! I am a retired State Police Officer and I am positive his background would have disqualified him from ever becoming a Trooper. Yet, he managed to con his way into the highest office in our country. He is nothing but a Chicago criminal.

    October 9, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  14. libs_r_evil

    nobama feels the biggest issue that he needs to address in this great country right now is DEFENDING BIG BIRD????? And people want to say Romney is "out of touch"? Why is nobama attacking what Romney says, instead of running ads talking about all the great things he did during his first term in office?? Oh, thats right, he CAN'T brag about his record, because it is HORRIBLE!!!!!

    October 9, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. cindy

    You go Big Bird!!

    October 9, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  16. Both a silly and scary comment from former Gov. Romney

    The ad is very sarcastic and would be funny, if Romney hadn't actually used PBS as an example of an organization from which he would cut funding to help reduce the deficit if he elected. Silly comment from Romney? Yes. Scary comment from Romney? Absolutely! Would anybody really take funding away from Sesame Street? Who would actually suggest this? He did, so what would he really do to Medicare, Social Security, etc. I guess he might simply copy the Democratic platform for now.

    October 9, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  17. Johnmac

    Good for Big Bird. He makes a lot more money than Romney

    October 9, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  18. CBR

    It is amazing to me that Mr. Romney would even mention Big Bird. He obviously thought people were just going to laugh as he did when he said it. Unfortunately, he has chosen to cut PBS which receives a relatively small amount from the Federal Government. It is a symbol to those on the right. PBS, the Arts, Head Start, etc. are all programs which they find objectionable and this is a good time to get rid of them.

    They do accept sending more troops into battle and watching more bodies return to Dover AFB and more wounded men and women arriving back to the USA. Mr. Romney and those in Congress who wish to enter into battle will not be sacrificing anything. Most do not have sons or daughters in the military, their incomes are secure, and they believe if they visit a military hospital or base every now or then they have fulfilled their duties. Never mind what happens to military families or to those who return still need medical care. We need to know what these candidates really want to do and where they will spend our money,.

    October 9, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  19. IndyIndependent

    Ironic isn't it. Liberals want to do away with corporate welfare but are OK sending our tax dollars to a company that makes over $450 million each year licensing the characters from TV show. I guess all corporate welfare is not created equal.

    October 9, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  20. honestuck

    When someone as liberal as Big Bird stop supporting the President he is history. We should start planning for a Romney Presidency. Don't even go out and vote, the decision has already been made. Your vote will not count.

    October 9, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  21. jorline

    Obama's campaign should be bringing in PBS's "Mr Roger's Hood".

    October 9, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  22. James

    23 million unemployed and Obama wants to talk about Big Bird – what a jerk

    October 9, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  23. lindaluttrell

    OK, BB. Maybe the Prez should have run that ad with a Bald Eagle: "Keep your Mitts off MY Country! Signed, the Orignal Big Bird."

    October 9, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  24. Jean

    Rather than mocking Big Bird and making jokes, how refreshing it would be if Obama simply explained what he would do different in the next 4 years, something that would actually grow the economy. And if Big Bird is too sacred for spending cuts, then that fiscal cliff is even deeper than we thought.

    October 9, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Using Big Bird is violating copyright law. You know that little C in the circle before the Sesame Street name? Anybody who runs that ad, even on cnn or youtube is violating copyright law. And Obama, a Constitutional law professor before he ran for a one term in Congress seems to have forgotten that. If Sesame Street says stop running the ad, stop running it. They could lose their non profit satus as a 501(c)3 non profit. As a former president of a 501 non profit, those are federal guidelines we had to follow. We could endorse NO political candidates. With Obama's voice I approve this message any one who runs this ad even to show what it looks like is in violation of Sesame Street non profit. Or Obama knew that, and wanted the ad seen as he figured this would happen. I can't figure out what is worse.

    October 9, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
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