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. beevee

    Why should it be troubling to Romney's camp?. Their candidate said that when sixty million people are watching. If he did not mean this, he also did not mean when he said that he is for the 47% of the americans who are dependent on govt. Is it just to get their votes> That makes him a liar and panderer.

    October 9, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. James PDX

    It would be nice if Romney could focus for once on cutting something that doesn't either involve education or social services. It's like he wants all Americans who aren't rich to be dumb and destitute. It's quite possible that the government subsidy given to PBS and NPR needs to be looked at to see if it is fully appropriate. But since it's such a minor amount involved, he really needs to tell us where the cuts that will actually make any difference will come from. So far, he hasn't been able to give us any solid information at all about how he will fund his agenda. With just a few weeks to ago until election day, isn't it about time he had a plan solid enough that he could at least explain it to us? Instead, we get his running mate, Ryan, telling FOX news that he doesn't have the time to explain Romney's so-called "simplified" tax code to us. I don't think any presidential candidate has scared me more in my 47 years than Romney. I fear he could make Bush look like a good and caring president.

    October 9, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. Mark L M

    Sorry, but our government has become fiscally irresponsible. Borrowing from China to pay for PBS, where there are so many other children's program is wrong. You look it like we should have more news from the welfare system. WE are overloaded from TV media, and honestly, we should have our children get out a bit more, and play kickball, and baseball, soccor.

    Honestly, you don't think Sesame Street won't be picked up by another network. If it doesn't I'm sure it will be out there for on demand, which more and more people are going to.

    October 9, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Rush

    Cutting big energy subsidies saves way more. deal with it.

    October 9, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. DC from NJ

    You guys really don't seem to be getting the point. The thrust of this commercial is that Romney's so-called "plans" are not detailed in the slightest, and that cutting subsidies to PBS does nothing to decrease the debt that he will accumulate by giving more tax cuts to millionaires. And just yesterday, he promised to increase the defense budget by billions more, building huge numbers of ships for the Navy, etc., etc. He continues to pander to everyone in sight. But, don't worry, by tomorrow, he will change his mind again. Anyone who votes for this man has literally no idea what he will do as President, because he has no idea!

    October 9, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. imastarchick

    CJB you and all others get a clue...All of you who think Big Bird funding cuts are critical and that PBS is taking a few dollars from you.. What do you have to say about Romney wanting to give 2 trillion unrequested dollars to the military ???? TWO TRILLION DOLLARS of unnecessary funding that could help you....That is corporate welfare out of control. Do you think Mitt just woke up one day and said "Hey I had a dream, I should give TWO TRILLION DOLLARS to the military so they can buy cool stuff. He thought lets forget vets, forget spending on schools or education or infrastructure... lets make bombs that we dont need. But hey feel good about yourself when you rant that Big Bird is a scam...looting us all... And vote for that jerk so he can give the money to defense contractors, they're more important than Americas children or vets or any thing else we can come up with to spend TWO TRILLION DOLLARS on.

    October 9, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. Tamera Jensen

    Ironically, Big Bird actually makes double what Romney does annually! We, the people, pay 430 million a year to PBS. Big Bird brings in 21 million a year in merchandising all by himself. AND, we the people don't get any of that subsidy back. I think PBS would be fine all by themselves. With 1 in 6 Americans now living in poverty and 49 million on food stamps I think all the liberal focus on Big Bird is amazingly trivial. Oh, but that's right....Obama IS a trivial person. He has missed more than 50% of his daily national security briefings including the one the morning after the Benghazi attack..instead choosing to fly off to Vegas. I guess that's what i-candy is all about.... no substance.

    October 9, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. johnny popper

    PBS is profitable! It does not even need the taxpayer's gifts every year. Of course the medai will never point this out. Sesame Street is hugely profitable. This is what is wrong with the media and our current politicians, they just never tell the real truth, what's actually important to know. they just play word games, smoke and mirrors.

    We are not in a point in our history where we can afford to have the typical goof ball politician in office. the glad hander who does no work. the big dog, homecoming king who rips on anyone and everyone and des not himself tryo to fix anything. Just farms everything out and throws money at problems.

    Focus on big bird Conan and CNN and MSNBC, we realize you are all doing what your big government owners want....to constantly grow government and bilk the taxpayers.

    October 9, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. Please self deport Romney

    "Mitt Romney knows it's not Wall Street you have to worry about, it's Sesame Street."

    October 9, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. Jo

    If we need to ONLY cut PBS funding 1,000 times, then that's a step in the right direction. That means PBS funding is quite large. In any case, PBS will survive without public funding, and Mitt Romney didn't say he'd shut it down, just cut the funding. Liberals are making this into some lie that Romney will fire Big Bird. Big Bird will still be around, but hopefully the left-leaning documentaries and programs of PBS will no longer be supported by tax money from ALL Americans. I don't understand why PBS is not balanced in some of its programs and then decries when its public funding (which it dismisses as small anyways) is threatened to be cut. Maybe PBS should change so it reflects a balanced set of opinions and views, especially if it's taking in public money!

    October 9, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Frank Lee Speakin

    Based on the reactions to the Big Bird comment, it seems that every subsidy is either too small to consider cutting because it won't constitute a significant savings or too large to cut because it is absolutely essential. When something is subsidized it is supported because it can't support itself. Who is going to subsidize the United States when we finally implode because nobody is willing to give an inch. If PBS needs funding from the Federal Government to continue, doesn't that make it the Federal Broadcasting Service? If the public values PBS, the public will support it. If the public doesn't support it, time to change the business plan. The current business plan seems to be "Because I love it, you need to fund it." Oh, wait, ... that's how the whole subsidy thing works, isn't it. If I don't send money to PBS during a pledge, they'll simply take what they need at tax time. I love PBS, but only if it is voluntary support media.

    October 9, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. Dave

    I've always gone under "if you watch the pennies the dollars will watch themselves"...and it has worked quite well for me. Basically it's saying that if you worry only about the big dollar items the small stuff is going to sneak up and bite you in the butt...and it's true. If you worry about the small stuff too it's impossible for the large stuff to sneak up on you!

    October 9, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. Critical Thinking

    This is why you don't give the Obama team specifics, they beat you over the head. Romney will cut all federal support to those programs that can stand on their on two feet.

    October 9, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. Wilberforce

    Romney talks about the issues and the problems. Obama talks about Romney.

    October 9, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. imastarchick

    CJB you and all others get a clue...All of you who think Big Bird funding cuts are critical and that PBS is taking a few dollars from you.. What do you have to say about Romney wanting to give 2 trillion unrequested dollars to the military ???? TWO TRILLION DOLLARS of unnecessary funding that could help you....That is corporate welfare out of control. Do you think Mitt just woke up one day and said "Hey I had a dream, I should give TWO TRILLION DOLLARS to the military so they can buy cool stuff. He thought lets forget vets, forget spending on schools or education or infrastructure... lets make weapons that we dont need. But hey feel good about yourself when you rant that Big Bird is a scam...looting us all... And please go vote for Mitt so he can give the money to defense contractors, they're more important than Americas children or vets or any thing else we can come up with to spend TWO TRILLION DOLLARS on.

    October 9, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. jack fitzgerald

    More smoke and mirrors from our lovely politiicans and the absolute sell outs who run their campaigns. PBS is profitable! It does not even need the taxpayer's gifts every year. Of course the medai will never point this out. Sesame Street is hugely profitable. This is what is wrong with the media and our current politicians, they just never tell the real truth, what's actually important to know. they just play word games, smoke and mirrors.

    We are not in a point in our history where we can afford to have the typical goof ball politician in office. the glad hander who does no work. the big dog, homecoming king who rips on anyone and everyone and des not himself tryo to fix anything. Just farms everything out and throws money at problems.

    Focus on big bird Conan and CNN and MSNBC, we realize you are all doing what your big government owners want....to constantly grow government and bilk the taxpayers.

    October 9, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. gt

    big bird has plenty of money....tried buying one from the store..nope dont need tax payers money...

    October 9, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. PR

    to the Truth – Then why don't you make it public then? Because you can't right? Republicans just keep lying and lying just hoping they stick. It appears it's working as there are just to many uneducated people in this country to really see what Mitt Romney really is like.

    October 9, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Allan

    Fine, then cut PBS 1000 times.

    October 9, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Greenspam

    @Annrich : Romney wants to increase defense spending!

    October 9, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Peter

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

    Romney is the one who brought it up! It needs to be focused on because it is such a ludicrous response to how to cut the deficit. It just represents Romney's ineptitude and cluelessness.

    October 9, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Jt_flyer

    I call "fowl"!

    October 9, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. tjkarani

    Sesame Street make millions. They're a large corporation that's taking corporate welfare from the American taxpayers. The Dem's really have to drop this one because it's making them look like the hypocrites that they accuse the Rep's of being.

    October 9, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. Jo

    CNN needs to seriously report on why conservatives don't like funding PBS (because of its left-leaning programs), instead of promoting stories like this that simply is not true- Romney won't fire PBS or Big Bird, he cannot. Romney simply will pull public funding of a station that has become unbalanced in its views, and let it become more efficient. It will survive without that 15% funding.

    October 9, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Russ

    Cutting Big Bird (PBS) is a self inflicted bad example of what he will do to other programs that people like and need. In the same sentence, he said he will eliminate Obamacare. Over 50 million people do not have insurance because they either can't get it, or can't afford it. With no insurance many will be forced into bankruptcy. Obamacare will be a tremendous help to them and a long term savings to taxpayers. No matter, Romney will repeal it, just as he will eliminate Big Bird, which sums up Romney in one big picture of a 8' tall loveable bird.

    October 9, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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