Big Bird puts his big orange foot down
October 9th, 2012
09:38 AM ET
9 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. Uncle Phil

    Barack take the big bird feathers out your mouth.
    And out of the campain and for once in your four
    year term get serious.
    We are facing some major problems in this country.
    What are you up to now? In Ohio today urging people to run out
    and cast their vote for me. BHO do we have some surprises
    coming before election day.
    BHO what about the potential coverup over in Libya.
    BHO where is your plan for the next four years oups wrong
    Question it will be same old same old.

    October 9, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  2. Don

    Great, another Obama first. Slapped down by Big Bird.

    October 9, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  3. Uncle Phil

    Hello Ohio wake up and smell the coffee

    October 9, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  4. Ancient Texan

    "When you don't have a record to run on, you concentrate on the little things and pick on your opponent" (paraphrased) Obama during the 2008 campaign.

    October 9, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  5. The 1 Prophet

    Most Americans create their own America why candidates for president think thry can promise an America, when the America economy is collapsing, many people out of work, look at Newtown Ohio, small business struggling to stay open due to low fees to attract costumers and the struggling warming class whom can't spend any money becaiuse they are not earning enough . Shame on you Government, shame on you presidents.

    October 9, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  6. Ancient Texan

    If Big Bird is such a great educational tool and is doing more than public education, then close the department of education. Save billions since one or the other of these "education entities" is doing a LOUSY job.

    October 9, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  7. jpmichigan

    The democrats just don't get it . Big bird and PBS have over 450million dollars in their pot. They will not be hurting, for they also take large private donations.. Programs that are paid for by barrowing money from China , so that they continue to get federal funds, which in reality do not need. Running political ads that Romney wants to get rid of Big Bird, is not the only progam in Washington that needs to be cut, Washington waste more then it needs.

    October 9, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  8. The 1 Prophet

    To undesrand why America is heading towards the wrong direction just look at 2013 budget only 3 % out the budget is spent of Education. You don't need to be an economist to understand the future ramifications. Shame on the system for not taking care of your future of America.

    October 9, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  9. Maria

    If my grandson could vote, he is eithgt months old, he would definitely NOT vote for Mr. Romney. What a meanie! Thinking of getting rid of Big Bird! Our big Bird has been part of the American fabric, teaching children to love and respect others, without regards to financial status, religion or ethnic background. Perhaps Mr. Romney would have a more real and warm heart had he watched Big Bird as a child. Also, perhaps he would not have bullied the gay student.

    October 9, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  10. picklepants

    it looks like obama broke copyright laws by using big bird in an ad without permission. it figures, obama has the most corrupt administration ever. illegally halted oil drilling in the gulf, illegally restructured gm and stole money from bond holders, and illegally taking overseas campaign money, etc...

    October 9, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  11. Bill

    When Obama leaves in Jan. he can be a stand in for Dumbo, same hears

    October 9, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  12. Alex

    Well What Mitt Rommey forgets and so does the Media. It is that Big Bird is people. Sesame Street are people. Artists who have been there for many generation to educate our kids. And these artists need to keep their job. Mitt Rommey is more worried about those who are doing better for America, like oil companies who pollute other countries, and I can just keep on going.. But not about those who create more rewarding jobs like serving/educating others. Only uneducated people will say that these programs are not important. I will love for my kids to have appreciation for the Arts. like music, theater and more. I wont like to live a life working like a dog and making money and not having an educative for of Art.

    October 9, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Mitt Romney wants to cut education , the 47% don't deserve the privileges of the Job creators .

    Romney , I love the trees , the lakes , I'm so phony . They love me !

    October 9, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  14. AnnaR

    Good for PBS. They are definitely a worthy cause and I'll be sending them a check regardless of who is president.

    October 9, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  15. Orion

    Why people just talk about Obama's weakness or whatever?... he's done a lot of good thing for this country!... for example Osama Bin Laden!... not even George W. Bush took him down... and he just spent 8 yrs doing what?... Oh yeah! not helping the economy... cause remember that the economi of this country was like this or worse before Obama got the power!... Oh! and by the way think more deeply about Romney's ideas because they might sound too good to be truth!... Don't say anything about Obama and Romney's debate this past wednesday!... he's the President you know This is not an easy job!... Maybe he was tired... we all have difficult days and problems!... I don't mean to say bad thing or anything I just give my opinion!.. 🙂

    October 9, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  16. Kirk

    Good for Big Bird. It is just noise and has zero relevance to the point that was being made in the debate. Anyone confused by that was probably watching Big Bird instead of the debate.

    October 9, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  17. roy

    Big bird will need to apply for unemployment benefits if Romney is elected president.

    October 9, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  18. Robert

    Big bird is responsible for offing the Cookie Monster, and Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird must go!

    October 9, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  19. Squigman

    I am still clueless as to how and why Mitt Romney, got to be considered presidential material.

    October 9, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  20. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama

    It is sad when Big Bird is more qualified than the uhbama.

    October 9, 2012 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  21. Debbie

    Obama's camp should stop if requested to do so. I would just put in place Obama mocking Romney on the Big Bird Issue. Does the same thing.

    October 10, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  22. GetSmartUSA

    Get a life people. When will you recognise commedy? These Obama haters use every opportunity to air their hatred!

    October 10, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  23. Leda

    If anyone took the time to listen to Obama's entire speeches citing Big Bird and Seame Street, they would realize he uses them as lead-ins to issues on which he gives more substance and meaning, albeit, sarcastically, which is good balance for Romney's suggestion that this is a good example of what spenidin line-items he would cut. Lame.

    October 10, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  24. Geoff

    Big Bird is a small problem. A bigger problem is the fact that a full-time minimum wage earner with a child cannot live on his/her salary alone. In the meantime corporate big-wigs are making themselves richer and richer on the backs of the minimum wage earners. Big yellow birds and penguins would never treat their flocks this way. But republicans will.

    October 10, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  25. nokat

    Big Bird has proved in this article that Obama and the president's team are the ones with a Bird Brain.

    October 10, 2012 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
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