Big Bird the focus in sarcastic new Obama ad
October 9th, 2012
03:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Big Bird the focus in sarcastic new Obama ad

(CNN) – The unlikely star of last week’s presidential debate is now starring in a political ad from President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

The spot, released Tuesday, sarcastically casts Big Bird as a corporate fiend akin to Bernie Madoff and Kenneth Lay. The campaign said it would air on national broadcast and cable.

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“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.

“I like PBS, I love Big Bird,” Romney said, before adding: “I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”

Members of the president's team said Romney's statements during the debate about defunding PBS and Big Bird left an opening on which the president and his campaign could seize.

Obama himself pounced on the remark, not at the debate but the day after, when he took a tone similar to his latest ad at a campaign stop in Colorado.

"Thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird. It's about time," Obama said. "We didn't know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit, but that's what we heard last night. How about that?"

Online and on social media, Obama’s team has been actively pushing the Big Bird criticism of Romney, including the correlation between Sesame Street and tighter regulations on Wall Street they claim Romney opposes.

Obama’s team has also deployed a person dressed in a yellow bird costume to Romney’s campaign events in order to drive home their message.

Responding to Tuesday's ad, Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said it made the "choice in this election" even more clear.

"Four years ago, President Obama said that if you don’t have a record to run on, ‘you make a big election about small things.’ With 23 million people struggling for work, incomes falling, and gas prices soaring, Americans deserve more from their president," she wrote.

CNN’s Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. amf140

    They are grabbing at straws now. This is what happens when you have no record to run on.

    October 9, 2012 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    Big bird today–teachers tomorrow on firing list... Iran war.

    October 9, 2012 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  3. Fact

    Romney using "Big Bird" and PBS as an example of a target to help with the deficit was ridiculous in the debate, and was like Palin winking into the camera. Remember that?

    October 9, 2012 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  4. Weston


    October 9, 2012 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
  5. Why did Romney bully Big Bird?

    Romney is a bully. Instead of defending his position on the real issues, Romney decided to pick on PBS and "Big Bird." Just like a bully to pick on the weak among us. Maybe this is why he couldn't interviewed by the children. Maybe the children are part of the group who remind US that MA was 47th in jobs under Romney, or they are part of the "Unemployment numbers conspiracy," or the Main Stream Media conspiracy, or the videographer who caught Romney dismissing the 47% of the US population conspiracy. Everybody seems to be against Romney in his world. Everyone is fair game, including cute cudly creatures. Next he'll be going after Whoville on Christmas Eve. Even if reversed his 47% position within two weeks. Romney IS a BULLY. Just ask the kids.

    October 9, 2012 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  6. aicohn

    Big Bird is fine. Borrowing money from China to fund Big Bird is not fine. Get it?

    October 9, 2012 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  7. GI Joe

    I don't trust Mitt Romney. He's trying to cover up too many things with all his lies and flip-flopping.

    I voted for Obama/Biden a week ago.

    October 9, 2012 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  8. TomInRochNY

    Somethng tells me Romney is going to get the bird on this one.

    October 9, 2012 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  9. skeptikal

    Can't debate?? Call people liars and misrepresent facts...Chicago politics at its best

    October 9, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  10. Bill

    If Big Bird and Sesame Street are so popular and critical, then why do they need public funds? The country needs to live within its means. My kids grew up with Sesame Street, Mr Rogers, etc... But when things are tifght, do we strip our military to ensure Big Bird has a job?

    October 9, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  11. Anonymous

    The video is too funny. Sorry, Romney, you left yourself wide open on that one!

    October 9, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  12. MM

    Too funny!

    October 9, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |