Team Romney word on the street for Big Bird tactics: 'Troubling'
October 9th, 2012
11:27 AM ET
2 years ago

Team Romney word on the street for Big Bird tactics: 'Troubling'

Editor's note: Part of an occasional series on the #homestretch to Election Day with GOP nominee Mitt Romney

En route Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - With 28 days to go, can you tell us how to get away from Sesame Street?

It doesn't take a campaign report from Kermit the Frog to figure out Mitt Romney woke up to the equivalent of an Oscar the Grouch style ad from the Obama campaign this morning.

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Mocking the GOP nominee for threatening to take the axe to federal funding for public broadcasting at last week's presidential debate, the spot's narrator intones breathlessly: "Mitt Romney knows it's not Wall Street you have to worry about, it's Sesame Street."

Step aside Big Labor and Big Oil. Is Big Bird this year's October Surprise? Elmo... call your agent. He's not tickled.

En route to a stop in Iowa where Romney was to detail his plan for American farmers, senior campaign adviser Kevin Madden was of course asked about poultry, of the large and yellow kind.

"I just find it troubling that the president's message, the president's focus, 28 days before Election Day is Big Bird," Madden said.

"The governor is going to focus acutely on jobs and the economy and what he can do to create a better, more prosperous future for the American people," he added.

Still, Romney has yet to be pressed on how eliminating funding for PBS would have much of an effect on the deficit.

"You would need to cut PBS more than 1,000 times to fill the hole in Romney's debate promises," an Obama campaign email pointed out, announcing its new spot.

Both the Republican National Committee and the Romney campaign blasted out emails to reporters, with a reminder of what then Senator Obama said during his speech to the Democratic convention in 2008.

"If you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. 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," Obama said.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer speaks live to Mitt Romney Tuesday on "The Situation Room" at 6 p.m. ET

MORE FROM THE CNN POLITICAL TICKER:

Big Bird the focus in sarcastic new Obama ad

Romney revives 8% unemployment critique at rainy rally

Pastor at Ryan event once said Romney is not a Christian


Filed under: 2012 • Homestretch • Mitt Romney
soundoff (290 Responses)
  1. klamerus@pobox.com

    Don't know why this is troublign – or at least not surprising.

    The liberal media has "public" television wrapped around it's finger. It's practically an arm of the democratic party.

    October 9, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. sim city

    romneys point was, alot of smaller things will need to be cut as well, not just the big stuff. Obama promised during his first election campaign that he would agressively srub spending and reduce all the wastes, we all know that never happened.

    October 9, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. library guy

    As a President once said ' If you can't stand the heat ,get out of the kitchen!"

    October 9, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. TiredOfPaying

    Mitt Romney is solely responsible for changing me from a life-long Republican to an Independant. I literally can't believe that such a flawed individual has been nominated for President, let alone that he has sufficient support to make it a race.

    Oh well... Mitt Happens

    October 9, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. no name

    Romny& Ryan 2012

    October 9, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. Lew

    Obama's desperation is showing. There's a White House cover-up being exposed; the Middle East is in turmoil; the economy is in the toilet; etc.; and the Obama campaign has latched onto a giant puppet to make its case to the American people. And, to add insult to injury, Sesame Street doesn't even want to be associated with his campaign, as the show (read PBS) is asking that the ad be axed.

    October 9, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. IceMan

    Seems like fair game to me.
    Government subsidies to PBS are minuscule compared to the defense dollars that are wasted every year.
    Until Romney starts talking about eliminating waste in the military, he can take it on the chin for his Big Bird comment.

    October 9, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. tirel brooks

    who cares! ROMNEY IS WINNING!

    October 9, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. wkndthg

    @lgortman, get your head out of the sand, read something in black and white, better yet, google Obama's accomplishments, have someone read it to you.

    October 9, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. Joe (Houston, Texas)

    Romney thinks that $8M to Sesame Street is a waste, yet giving $4B to oil companies and spending trillions to blow people up half way across the world is okay. Makes sense

    October 9, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. anothermuse

    Romney tried to throw a bone to the far right that wants to defund PBS and NPR because of their often overly liberal programming.(not talking about Sesame Street.Big Bird is sort of the innocent victim here). But, he and his team have to remember these little issues turn into big TV spots. It's a non issue, the president doesn't control funding.

    October 9, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. tjp44

    obama is done

    October 9, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    I'm Republican and voted for Bush, McCain and I may end up voting for Romney but our economy is bad because of people like Romney and Bain Capital who sucked the money out of companies for their own personal gains and destroyed jobs in America. Plus he hid out in France to dodge the Vietnam War while my brother and thousands of other Americans spent years in the heart of the war. It's too bad we don't have a better candidate who really cares about the middle class and not about his personal accomplishments.

    October 9, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. Jude

    if you read any history books...it has always been about the man trying to make allot of money (regardless of how or what gets damaged, hurt, abused, slaved etc) using $$$ as the weapon for power while the woman struggles to make life civil, just and safe for family, chldren and community. in modern times and in america. ...repubs represent the man and dems the woman. humans are very simple but devious creatures. androgynous humans know that proving opportunity, education and excellent health care too ALL your children while maintaining a very strong defense leads to a strong community able to care for the weak, disabled and elderly.

    October 9, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. A W Messenger

    If Big Bird is the only political tactic left for the LEFT, then Mitt is sliding into home with a big win on Nov. 6.

    October 9, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. Zoe

    It's sad to see the trivialization of "Big Bird" and "Sesame Street". If you want to "create a better, more prosperous future for the American people", you would know it's future is children, and that cutting funding to PBS and Sesame Street means cutting funding for education. The phenomena of educational television programming and its effects have been well studied by instructional designers and researchers, kids who watch programs like Sesame Street not only acquire greater proficiency for reading and understanding basic mathematical concepts at early ages but also perform better in school, and have more positive views of various stereotyped groups like the handicapped, also represented on the show. Many of the kids who benefit from such programs do not have the best access to education in their homes and their schools already, not to mention how low America's standing is on educational ranking for a world power. If you want to "grow jobs" you can't just look at numbers, you have to grow minds and people capable of filling quality jobs. You don't get that from cutting funding to education. Research has also shown that children watch TV more than they spend time in schools, why cut funding from one of the only educational channels, nonetheless one of the few bastions of positive television? Not to mention, cutting funding to PBS barely dents the deficit. This isn't just about a yellow bird, it's about education. The reason people are talking about this isn't just sentimental value, they understand the implications and the numbers and research involved. This is not a minor issue, cutting educational budgets to an already struggling educational system is NOT the answer to resolve our current problems.

    October 9, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. Sailor101

    Hmmm this article and everyone's comments seem to be missing the first part of Romney's statement, which was something to the effect of: "if we have to borrow money from China to keep things funded then I would cut....."
    Doesn't anyone remember that part or if you do are you just willing to ignore it because it does not make for a good sound bite?

    October 9, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. sumguy2006

    If I didn't hear Obama "Approve this message" I would have thought it was watching an SNL skit.
    After all the ways he was manhandled in that debate, This is his response?
    It's just embarrassing. Talk about a backfire.

    October 9, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. Dee

    Somebody on Romney's team should have briefed him that on campaign, you have to kiss babies, not steal their candy. His legacy will now be that he has made his name a verb...as in 'Go clean your room or I'll romney your allowance!"

    October 9, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. bspurloc

    how do I pay for my 5trillion in tax cuts when the country is tarved for revenue due to TWO unpaid for wars?
    I will cut a few million from PBS and Planned parenthood. I will increase military spending by a few BILLION and increase big oils tax exemptions a few BILLION....
    Arithmetic isnt based on faith....

    October 9, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. DSP2

    how could you expect an unbiased report on an incompetent president when he controls the federal purse strings to your company? PBS is a government propaganda entity

    October 9, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. MoZ

    Or maybe Mr. Romney can just keep repeating things like his sons did, hoping we will believe him...oh wait, that's what he accuses the other guy of doing. Good things his sons are there to give him campaign speaking advice...repeat, repeat, repeat till the lie becomes what he wants the voters to believe is the truth....At least his FIVE SONS are not fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan...lucky them!

    October 9, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. TEW

    Igortman should read "Ignorant" man!!

    The Prez over the course of his term saved the country from a depression, ensured people who did not have med insurance or pre-existing conditions maintained or obtained coverage. He saved the Auto industry, passed legislation that gave women a tool to ensure equal pay, passed the Post 9-11 GI Bill for military personnel, ended DADT, passed legislation to protect the public from the greedy wall-street thieves, created an enviroment that allowed 40+ months of continued job growth and oh yeah gave the order to take out Osama Bin-Laden a job that both GW Bush and Willard was either reluctant or refused to do.

    I suspect that since your parents probably lied to you since birth having you beleive in Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy you are prone to beleive any slick talking ponzi scheme liar from the episodes of "American Greed" If this is the case then Willard is your man!! Wake up and stop being brain-washed by Faux News

    gortman

    Obama hasnt done a thing these past 3 1/2 years! ZERO, ZILCH, NOTHING! I am amazed at the Americam people who are blinded! Take away all of the rumors and look at the facts in black and white!

    October 9, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. stop-the-whining

    The point is not that there is little taxpayer dollars going to PBS. The point is that it is something the taxpayer does not need to pay for. If PBS is so great – and btw – they made about 150M last year, then let PBS compete just like all other stations. Our country was founded on limited govt and it is far past the time to have a limited govt!!

    October 9, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  25. Swoosh

    It actually was pretty bold for Romney to target PBS (as an example) with a moderator of the debate who is on PBS. There are many things that I would like to buy or spend money on, yet I am forced to constrain myself due to limitations of my budget. I can't run a deficit, at least not for long. We have a massive and unsustainable deficit. We need to cut anywhere and everywhere that we can. Romney's litmus test of "if we have to borrow $$$ from China to pay for it, we should see if it is adding enough value to continue it" is spot on. Amtrak, Planned Parenthood, the USPS, subsidies to farmers, and other taxpayer supported programs should all be part of the review. Big Bird / Sesame Street is a huge moneymaker for PBS. Unlike 20 years ago, they run spots that amount to commercials on PBS now. If it is valuable, it will be funded. If not, it should be cut.

    October 9, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
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