Romney plucks Big Bird attack
October 9th, 2012
03:44 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney plucks Big Bird attack

Van Meter, Iowa (CNN) - For the first time in days, Mitt Romney did not invoke last week's presidential debate during his remarks at an Iowa campaign stop.

But it was clear he was continuing to sharpen his criticisms of his opponent, Barack Obama.

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Standing in a dusty wind that coated supporters' hair and clothing, Romney immediately attacked the president for what he called Obama's misguided focus on a straw man – or a large feathered bird, in this case – instead of talking about the economic struggles plaguing Americans.

"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 said, to the crowd's delight. "I actually think we need to have a president who talks about saving the American people and saving good jobs and saving our future."

Democrats have seized on Romney's promise during Wednesday's debate to cut federal funding to PBS, and have even deployed a series of Big Bird look-alikes to Romney events all week.

On Tuesday the activist dressed as Big Bird stood off a highway half a mile away from the Iowa farm where Romney focused largely on regional issues.

Romney accused Obama of not promoting agricultural trade and failing to lead Congress to agreement on a farm bill last month.

"That's something I will devote my time to, to make sure that we get that bill passed so farmers know what they can expect," he said. "There are big differences between the president and me. He has no plan for rural America, no plan for agriculture, no plan for getting people back to work. And I do."

Although Romney did not specifically discuss his widely-praised debate appearance, his son, Josh, offered a stinging critique of Obama's performance in the match-up.

He jokingly said the Romney sons took credit for their father's success in the debate, explaining that when they were younger, the boys taught their father "how to debate an obstinate child."

"We were the ones, as kids, that kept saying the same thing over and over, and we'd say the same lie over and over, and my dad learned then not to believe it," Josh Romney said. "So, while we didn't go to any of the formal debate preparation, we did the real hard stuff."

Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith called Romney's remarks laughable.

"If anyone should be scratching their heads, it's the American people when Mitt Romney says that he'll reduce the deficit and pay for $5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans by getting rid of PBS and Big Bird, which make up 1/10,000th of the federal budget. That's not a serious deficit reduction plan- it's a joke," Smith said.

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Filed under: 2012 • Debate • Iowa • Mitt Romney
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. rosco

    He is right this big bird thing is just another distraction against the failed leadership of Obummer,if mr romney can get this once great country of track i would be very impressed, obummer just aint getting done

    October 9, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney will use anybody including an honorable Navy Seal Doherty who was killed in Libya that he said he knew stating "We go where there's trouble, "We go where needed". Romney is a Vietnam draft dodger and there is no "WE" and Senator John McCain needs to speak up against Romney's "WE" for all Vietnam Vets including my husband, brother, brother-in-law and others even if he won't speak up for himself as a prisoner of war. Speak up and speak loud Mr. McCain, answer "the call of duty".

    October 9, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  3. myviewis

    Most people could care less about Big Bird because they know that Big Bird makes Big Bucks, what worries most voters is finding a job or not losing the job they have.

    Big Bird is just a distraction the Obama campaign is using to help us all forget the debate in which Obama could not keep up with Romney and Obama proved he cannot handle the economy, he is in over his head.

    October 9, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. HOLY TIGHTY WHITIES WILLARD

    You always say have a plan but never provide any specifics. Still waiting on the specifics of your tax plan.

    October 9, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. beevee

    Romney is such a fool he used big bird to be symbolic of the type of cuts he would promote if (ever) he wins the WH. He should put up when president Obam'as campaign uses it as a symbol of Romney's cuts of govt.spending without thinking of their national importance in education. The big bird ad only symbolizes Romney's thoughtless economic policy. Put up or shut up.

    October 9, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. avdin

    The only truely major export in the US is agriculture. most other things we not only don't export but often don't produce enough of our own and have to import it. We really should take care of our farmers. they are one of the few who sustain us.

    October 9, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Although Romney did not specifically discuss his widely-praised debate appearance, his son, Josh, offered a stinging critique of Obama's performance in the match-up.

    He jokingly said the Romney sons took credit for their father's success in the debate, explaining that when they were younger, the boys taught their father "how to debate an obstinate child."

    "We were the ones, as kids, that kept saying the same thing over and over, and we'd say the same lie over and over, and my dad learned then not to believe it," Josh Romney said. "So, while we didn't go to any of the formal debate preparation, we did the real hard stuff."

    ---

    On July 4, 2007, the Romney campaign officially launched the "Mitt Mobile, A Five Brothers Bus", referring to Romney's five sons and his official campaign blog, Five Brothers. When asked why his sons were not fighting in Iraq, Romney replied that his sons were supporting America by riding from town to town in the "Five Brothers Bus," saying "One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected.

    They still are !

    October 9, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. kakaraka

    So Mitt Romney wants to cut education program for the kids in Big Bird but doesn't want people talk about it? Mitt, if it's not a big deal for you, it is for the american people. Cut 5 trillions tax that benefit the wealthies and pay for it by cutting kids education program is not a wise idea.

    October 9, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. MaryM

    New video of Mitt Romney debating Mitt Romney on the Daily Kos. Also in a campaign ad on TV.

    October 9, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  10. Borderless

    Obama practices the politics of distraction. "Don't look at my record! Look over there! A giant, yellow bird!" Even his campaign slogan "Forward" begs the electorate to forget the last four years.

    October 9, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. 4moreyears

    This guy is a joke really Mitt. You are the one who brought up Big Bird. Congress did not want to pass a farms bill remember they decided to go on vacation again. Blame the President for once again congress not doing what they get paid for. I am glad that Mitt Romney thinks that he will be able to tell Congress and the Senate what to do. It doesn't work like that sir. President is commander in chief.

    October 9, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. Ordnry1

    Ha, Ha. Romney was the first one to bring up Big Bird. Now, the Republicans are telling Obama to leave Big Bird alone. We learned a lot from PBS and I believe PBS is the best channel ever on the airwaves. Education is the best investment and millions of children are educated through PBS. I don't subscribe to cable network and I don't have the time to watch cable either. I have plenty of excellent programs that I watch on PBS.

    October 9, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Romney threw the entire bagger party under the bus when he reversed 18 months of crazy right wingnut positions he took: vouchers for medicare, changing social security, calling veterans "moochers," cutting regulations that caused the Bush economic meltdown, and selectively repealing Obamacare. Yet the right wingnuts must like being lied to.

    October 9, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. rs

    Ummmm. Mr. Romney? It was you who brought up Big Bird in the debate last week as a way to balance the budget, remember?

    October 9, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Thank you President Romney

    Obama is history. He should return to Kenya and build a Library.

    I can't wait for day one. He will overtrun everything the socialist Obama did. We can thank the grass roots of America for saving this country. The Tea Party and their followers will rule in this century. Just think no more cry baby liberals.

    Note to the the liberal traitors: Your time has past. America will return to the country the found fathers wantedt. A land of hope for the workers and crushing poverty for the lazy leaches of out society. Let the workhouse feed the leaches after they
    have done a good days work.

    October 9, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. kayla

    don't matter what you say munster, you never will be president, you will be just like your father, like father, like son

    October 9, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Jan

    Wow! Romney's sons seem to be RIGHT!!!! Lying Runs In The Family!!!! JUST KEEP ON LYING!!!! ROMNEY LEARNED WELL!!!! I HOPE NOT TOO MANY OF US FALL FOR IT!!!!

    October 9, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. MrBeenThere

    So funny....................... this man says anything and everything and has the Brass B_lls to fake outrage. What can you expect from a man who's own Religion teaches that it OK to Lie.

    October 9, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. Lisa P

    "We were the ones, as kids, that kept saying the same thing over and over, and we'd say the same lie over and over, and my dad learned then not to believe it," Josh Romney said.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    And then he learned how to do it.

    October 9, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. 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 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. Randy, San Francisco

    Billions in tax subsidies for oil companies and nothing for educational PBS shows like Sesame Street. Romney is the miserly Grinch who stole Christmas.

    October 9, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. Lynn B

    Does the President really think that we are stupid and don't see these Big Bird insults as a pathetic attempt to distract from his pathetic job performance? Please don't insult my intelligence with such desperate tactics. As an independent, I paid close attention to the debate. I have made up my mind from listening to the candidates. MSNBC and the talking heads who are trying to tell me what I saw and how I should think can quit wasting their breath. By the way, I support the public Broadcast through generous donations. That is my choice. I am not having to borrow money to give those donations.

    October 9, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Dan

    Former Governor Romney, if you want to talk about jobs, then maybe you should stop talking about firing people.
    Telling PBS workers they will be fired on the first day you take office is not going to create jobs.

    October 9, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  24. Dan

    Call Congressional Republicans and tell them to stop blocking President Obama's Veteran's Jobs Bill.
    Call Congressional Republicans and tell them to stop blocking the Farm bill.

    October 9, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. Sam Freeman

    Even if PBS received no funding, Big Bird and Sesame Street would easily find corporate sponsorship. If this is the best Obama can do, then his goose is cooked.

    October 9, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
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