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


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Filed under: 2012 • Homestretch • Mitt Romney
soundoff (290 Responses)
  1. d

    i do not think it is troubling for obama to focus on the differences in leadership! and in what our country stands and romney are for greed and corruption and lies of course.

    October 9, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. rs

    Look, virtually every Republican for the last 20 years has threatened to end funding for NPR and PBS- they just hate them. Only Mr. Romney was foolish enough to list PBS though under his "do we really want to borrow money from China" to pay for this. A better example for him might be: "do we want to borrow money from China to give rich people even bigger tax cuts"?

    October 9, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. bethjoyce

    Why would Romney even bring up Big Bird and PBS at all during a debate. Essentially, the leader of the free world cuts what he wants to cut, not what he needs to cut. He doesn't need to cut PBS and BIg Bird; he just really WANTS to cut them mainly because they are intelligent formats and tend toward being liberal. Something Romney doesn't like and cannot relate to. So, of course, take that away, but pour tons of money into the military in an effort to scare the rest of the world ( which really wouldn't be very effective anyway).

    October 9, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Joe Two 6 Packs

    The GOP spent their whole convention and invented a slogan and signs around "You Didn't Build That" and now they are complaining that Romney's words about PBS and Big Bird are being highlighted. Hilarious. Romney ran to the left of Ted Kennedy and then to the right of Santorum and Perry, and now is going back to a bipartisan moderate. At the end of the day, Obama will win on likability and authenticity. Romney and his 47% denunciation and hidden tax returns is not trust worthy. The American people won't elect someone they can't trust.

    October 9, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. plain&simple

    Obama has a record to run on....taking over the collapsing economy,a country losing its youth to a misguided war, the termination of the pursuit of the man responsible for 9/11!!! What has Romney done these past 4 years??? Come up with eliminating Big Bird???

    October 9, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. California Gary

    Excuse me, but Big Bird is not the president's message.......that would be Mr. Romney that introduced the Bird into the political arena. Can you blame the president for having a little fun with it? It just illustrates how silly Romney's fiscal plan is when he chooses to highlight a proposed cut to PBS as a key to making his plan work. If Big Bird is the best he's got, then his campaign deserves the ridicule it is now suffering.

    October 9, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Anonymous

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

    Well, the rest of us find it troubling that Romney's idea of cutting the debt is a miniscule funding of children's education that does nothing to balance the budget. The only things that will do it are the big four. SS, medicare, medicaid, and the defense budget. As the first three may be politically suicidal, the fourth must be the answer, but Romney thinks that the increase in the defense budget by Obama isn't enough. At least Obama increased the debt in order to stop a depression, whereas Romney's plan increases debt without any aim, and without increased tax revenue, the debt will continue to grow. If he is unwilling to remove deductions loved by the middle class (which is the only way to offset the lowered tax rates), then the deficit increases.

    October 9, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. ghostriter

    Romney campaign: Why are we focusing on what Romney is saying about what he would do when we should be focusing on what Romney is saying about Obama? It's the liberal media that is clearly out to damage Romney by constantly bringing up things that he has said about himself.

    October 9, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. Malory Archer

    Only Mr. Romney was foolish enough to list PBS though under his "do we really want to borrow money from China" to pay for this. A better example for him might be: "do we want to borrow money from China to give rich people even bigger tax cuts"?


    Not only does he want to borrow more money from China for even bigger tax cuts for the rich, he also wants to borrow more from China to create even bigger wars to make more $$$ for his warmed over warmongering "advisors".

    October 9, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Jess Sayin

    It was very poor judgement for Gov. Romney to bring up ending the subsidy for PBS, when no one was questioning him on that. It was just dumb.

    October 9, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Dan j

    No one is "firing" Big Bird. Romney just wants Sesame Street's billion dollar industry to fund themselves.

    October 9, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. LegalizeReason

    Do we really want to borrow money from China to give subsidies to big Oil and corporate agriculture and tax breaks to big corporations ( that's you GE), hedge fund managers and venture capitalists? I find it troubling that any American outside the 1% would vote against their own interest and buy into the GOP fantasy/lie that if we just feed the big corporations and the rich, the rest of the country can go along on the magic carpet ride to prosperity. If we keep allowing the present exponential increase in wealth between the mega-rich and the rest of the country, America will soon be a cross between fuedal Europe and a banana republic. Read some history and remember how you felt in January 2009, when we were staring down into the dark abyss that the GOP's policies had driven us to. For me, I'm staying with the guy who saved our collective bacon, even in the face of an oppostion party that tried to thwart every idea he proposed in order to pursue their ideology and not the best interests of the American people.

    October 9, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. shadysider

    "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's the one who said removing the miniscule funding of a beloved children's education show would help lower the debt. Which it wouldn't. How about cutting things that would actually make a difference? Why not defense? Why not remove the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy? Oh, yeah. The pervasive idea among conservatives that there should be no compromise, and that if you break from conservative dogma you will be primaried. I'm amazed Romney won the Republican primary considering this, but then again, Romney wildly pandered to the base in order to get the nomination. He completely moved away from the moderate Republican image in order to placate the far right. Now he's trying to do the same for the general electorate. His plans don't work, his criticisms are outlandish, and he's shown he has no principle. He's not the Republican I was looking for. Huntsman 2016!

    October 9, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. laughingstock

    @rs – THANK YOU!!! That is the biggest question to me, that NO ONE from the GOP has a 'big enough stick' (to quote their party mascot) to answer. If they don't want to borrow 0.00012% of the budget from China to pay for educational programming that reaches and helps children from all classes (low, middle, & rich), then why do they want to borrow substantially more from China to give tax breaks to people who do not need them?

    October 9, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  15. Meka

    Big Bird is amoung the 47% !

    October 9, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. Borderless

    What really makes me laugh is the reason PBS is reliant on public support is that outside of this debate, NO ONE CARES ABOUT IT! The vast majority of people can't even find PBS in the hundreds of channels on their cable network. Outside of Sesame Street, few people can even name the programs on PBS. When all of this is over, whoever wins, most people will go back to watching Jersey Shore and The Bachelor and forget that PBS even exists. So stop pretending. At least Romney's message was clear and honest. Hard choices will have to be made to fix the mess Obama has left us with.

    October 9, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. john

    I watch opb all the time. I have learned alot from it. If Romney would stop funding opb it would be terrible.
    For Romney to say I would stop funding Opb but I like Big BIrd, its like "two face" in batman. One side of the
    coin is opb and the other side of the coin is Big Bird. Romney new name should be "two face"

    October 9, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. once upon a horse

    it appears with the GOP that anything that leans toward being educational is liberal and evil and needs to be done away with. And God forbids that it uses DIVERSITY to get that point across. But look at the money it will save the country by cutting out such things as PBS and NPR.....hardly a DENT in the debt that's for sure.

    October 9, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. Tara

    This is ridiculous criticism. Anyone with any common sense know that the entire point of that statement was "We have to stop spending money we do not have." He used an example of something everyone loves and everyone is familiar with. The point was, it has to stop! That is real life. We don't have the money. Wake up America!

    Also, anyone who is upset with "tax cuts", I suspect, is not paying very much in taxes...

    October 9, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. tykl

    All little things.....all the Leftists on this site can continue to discuss. Maybe you can start a thread on 'lady parts' next and maybe Fluke can be a guest poster.
    Romney gave an example of what he might cut (so criticize him for not giving details or for giving the detail of PBS, but you can't argue both...hypocrites), so he never said it would solve all the debt, but an example of how he would go about deciding what to cut. And it rings true to many. If you want to defend the government and how wisely they spend money, why don't you explain how well the Post Office, GSA, DMV, Soc Security, Medicare are all doing? That should be good for a laugh.
    And this ad shows a stunning lack of sophistication from O. What about an ad about ANY plan he has for the next 4 years. Want to talk about specifics? What are O's plans? Raising taxes on the rich (if you can calm yourselves down enough from the rhetoric, you will see that taxing the rich won't even make a dent into the debt – O even argued that in the debate not even knowing what he was doing)? O can run his Big Bird ads and continue amateur hour.

    October 9, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. Beverly - NYC

    "The governor is going to focus acutely on jobs and the economy"

    Really? Didn't the Republican party already sell us this lie in 2010, How many jobs bills did Boehner and the boy, pass, none, zero, zilch. However they did find time to do the following:

    Symbolic reading of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, skipping major parts
    Vote to Repeal Obama care for the 92nd time
    Attempted to cut funding for Planned Parenthood & PBS (cancer testing and Downton Abbey must be stopped)
    Cut Pell Grants, (an educated electorate, who needs that), borrow $ from your parents
    Working to delay repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell,
    Voted to Sponsor a NASCAR racecar with tax payer dollars
    Voted against last surviving WW1 veteran being honored in the Capitol rotunda after he passed away.
    Vote against a Veteran job Bill

    I find it troubling that 28 days to go and I still don't know what Romneys plans are, the guy has more personalites than Sybil.

    October 9, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. Jack from Illinois

    RMoney brought up Big Bird and PBS – he has no one to blame but himself.

    October 9, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. llydapdicter

    Wow, you people really are something on here. In the context of the debate, he was listing things that he would cut funding for that don't really need it. If we cut funding from pbs, guess what, they would survive! You have to start somewhere. Where at has obama cut the deficit that he so promised in 2008? Where is the deficit reduction in half that he promised us? Oh wait, empty promises from an empty man. He can't run on his record, so he throws stale ideas out there. I am glad they put that line in this story, it shows us the REAL character of pres. obama.

    October 9, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. Thomas

    To a person such as Mitt Romney who only believes in corporate art , Big Bird is a threat !

    For a a guy with 16 grandchildern , you would think he would have some understanding for the need of educational programing such as PBS. Big Bird is seen world wide , he's a goodwill ambassador . I'm sure Mitt would prefer Ronald McDonald have his own children's program.

    If only BIG BIRD was Mormon .

    October 9, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. Jim

    Simply stated, Romney was just making the point that if we have to borrow money from China to keep worthless projects going, then he would put a stop to that type of spending.

    October 9, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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