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. Patricksday

    Well of course Parent Company of Corporate Disney is a Mitt Romney Supporter dont want their Bird standing with President Obama, its all about Profits and Greed at all costs for the Republicans..

    October 10, 2012 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  2. minority&proud

    @rob: very intelligent come back. Welcome to America, where every opinions count including your liberal views. Glad to know that you can smell yourself.

    October 10, 2012 04:17 am at 4:17 am |
  3. Chedar

    You will remain clueless. The president won the Nobel peace prize trying to end two wars started be Republicans. And here you are still clueless that if Romney gets elected, you can be sure he will starts a new war in Iran. So you are better off clueless as you will always be bring screwed and still clueless.

    October 10, 2012 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  4. enilk88

    Big Bird's a fiscal Republican. PBS' "Sesame Street" gathered $126 net million last year. Maybe "Sesame Street" should a show for the Obama administration on the "ABC's" of economics!

    October 10, 2012 05:05 am at 5:05 am |
  5. Doug Ericson

    All politics aside, the commercial is just plain hysterical.

    October 10, 2012 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  6. Lizzie

    Bird Bird does not need government funds, they make more in advertising then is needed. When PBS starts reporting the news without bias, then an only then can they call themselves PBS.

    October 10, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  7. taxweary1

    Big birds mad and the "count " is furious..he cant fathom the amount of money Obama has wasted on our national debt! and green energy wasted investments

    October 10, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  8. Muffin72

    big bird doesn't need our money....hundreds of millions in merchandise sales and big bird and the rest of the crew are part of the Jim Henson empire.....he'll be fine.

    October 10, 2012 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  9. Minnie Mouse

    With all due respect, Mr. Mitt Romney you cannot say that President Obama is running around the country and not talking about the real issues because he keeps talking about 'Big Bird.

    The reason everyone is running around the country and talking about "Big Bird", is because you opened up the subject publicily during your first presidential debate with President Obama.

    October 10, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  10. Fact

    The reason this is trending so high, is that people really can't believe (stunned actually) Romney is actually targeting PBS and Big Bird to help address the deficit. He should actually have said what he would really cut, then his position could be evaluated.

    October 10, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |

    The Democratic Party is going to the birds.

    October 10, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  12. obama is Out Of Touch with reality

    Hoo Rah to Big Bird, put obama in his place, this wanna be obama thinks he can do as he pleases, put him down Big Bird, join the revolution to stop the treasonous ways of obama.

    October 10, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  13. clarinet

    Time for BO & CO to pack it up. As helpful concerned Americans let’s all mail the White House an empty cardboard box to put his stuff in.

    October 10, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  14. Mete Krop

    Who else would Romney affect in his presidency if he said he would take off the big bird from public TV. I have no clue as to who he stands for?

    October 10, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  15. Denny

    This is an attempt to use Big Bird as a defection from the Big Boom that is coming down on the administration about the cover-up surrounding the death of our ambassador in Libya. Watch closely and read between the lines. Our President and our State Dept were totally inept and lied to our faces. I am outraged, appalled and frankly, a little nervous. Forget Big Bird!

    October 10, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  16. Namecallie green

    Everyone take it easy dont get up tight the public donate. To PBS

    October 10, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  17. Wilson

    """Ever check out to see what a Community Organizer does?""
    Yes, they specialize in victim creation.

    October 10, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  18. amf140

    The Bird and his cronies have enough money to take care of themselves. If they were "patriots" according to Joe Biden, they would discontinue taking money from the government.

    October 10, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  19. FedUp

    Good for Sesame Street.

    October 10, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  20. Chip

    The ObamaPhone Lady could use a little remedial time on Sesame Street.

    I can hear her now: One, Two, FREE

    October 10, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  21. MCGH1


    FYI, The Walt Disney Company is owned by the Jobs in Steve Jobs.

    October 10, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  22. bj

    Big Bird much like Obambi is on the verge of extinction! Good riddance.

    October 10, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  23. truth hurts

    And another day of Big Bird at the top of the Ticker.... unbelievable. Let's just fry up Big Bird and put this nonsense to rest.

    Hey CNN, where's the Ticker story about all the lies the Obama administration told the American people about the Libyan attack that killed 4 Americans including our ambassador? Wouldn't want to call attention to yet more incompetence from the Obama administration would we?

    October 10, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  24. guest

    Big bird is correct.. They dont need Federal Funding.. And they certainly dont need Federal Funding to PAKISTAN to air Big Bird.. Millions were sent there when our education is failing here.. go figure...

    October 10, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  25. A True Conservative

    And of course Obama and company told Big Bird "I'll do what I want with you – you work for me!". How dare anyone question the One and how he runs his campaign!

    October 10, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
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