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. AqChicago

    Big Bird!!!!! Thats how specific Gov. Romney would get vs. sharing more specifics about financial and other regulations or tax cuts

    October 9, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. 1960's mom

    If you're not watching where the pennies go, you're not watching where the dollars go, I believe in a broader sense THAT is what Romney was saying. I'm a democrat, Obama needs a new campaign team, they have left him unprepared and unsupported. Do they seriously believe that the president supporting a stuffed animal is the way to go here, we're slipping in the polls and this is the brilliance of their plan!?!?

    October 9, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Liberals Should Be Embarrassed

    If our king cared as much about protecting our foreign embassies as he does about a make-believe bird, well, our ambassador and 3 other Americans would be alive today.

    And you $ hitbag liberals continue to support this piece of garbage we have in the white house.

    October 9, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. Hoosier53

    And that's what the obama campaign comes up with as ad worthy? they purposely miss the whole point of romney's statement, then take it out of context .... desparate twisting at its lowest

    October 9, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. The Truth

    If people understood the underemployment rate they would probably run from Obama or leave the country. The democrats only know how to demoralize the republicans through TV ads because they have no substance or track record in their existing campaign. It's time to let new leadership take its turn. I have just witnessed a 15% layoff in a major company that will not be made public until after the election because the media does not want the people to know the truth.

    October 9, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. Nick Walls

    Troubling indeed. Despiration is a STINKY colone....or should I say...a stinky Oscar!

    October 9, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. DCJO

    When you look at the genius of the Obama campaign four years ago, it is a little embarrassing that his campaign has been reduced to a Beavis & Butthead "hehe he said Big Bird hehe" angle a month before the election. My biggest disappointment from the first debate was I wanted to hear Obama's response to why at the beginning of a recession, he chose to spend two years of energy on healthcare reform rather than focus on economic reform focused on growth. Coming in with a semi-mandate, he could have gone after bipartisan tax reform and trade policy right out of the gates, but instead, he chose to throw stimulus money at the problem and focus on his "legacy." I don't think his campaign realizes how much this kills him with independents who are skeptical about the positive impact of the stimulus funds and the benefits of the ACA. Obama didn't appear to have a response to this charge, which leaves moderates like myself to assume that basically the democrats saw they had control of both houses of Congress and the White House and were going to ramrod their healthcare reform package through, economy be darned. Now he has kind of put himself in a box, where he doesn't have time to change that narrative, so instead the campaign is going to continue with negative attacks on Romney hoping their caricature of him sticks better than it has so far.

    October 9, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. Annirich

    PBS is left; no doubt about that. And to borrow money from China that we have to pay back with OUR hard working TAX DOLLARS is ludicrous. Cut, cut, cut.....I am sick and tired of paying for left wing agendas! These are MY dollars damn't. This administration has no idea what Fiscal Responsibility means. Get obo out of there.

    October 9, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. Goodgriefness are so right but the fickle American populice fell right in line with his lies. Mitt performed extraordinarily well against Obama last week...but his delivery was packed with outright lies...and folks were laying on their backs lapping them up like honey. But..I hate to say it...I blame Obama for that. Now is not the time to stay above the fray. He has to wade in and fight. Wanting to look and be presidential is not an excuse. He's already the President therefore already presidential. I'm not saying he has to fight dirty and lower himself to Mitt's standards, but put on your big boy boxers and come out swinging. Unfortunately, he can only be but so much aggressive because the first thing those obnoxious repuppylicans will do will be to label him an "angry black man". Obama better learn his lesson from last week's debate and take it to Mitt next week.

    October 9, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. emilia6

    People who are standing up and saying that funding to NPR and PBS are crippling the economy are dangerously misinformed. Sure, Romney could cut spending to these programs. However, the money "saved" in doing so won't even make a dent in the deficit. These programs are easy to target because they're easy to pitch to naive voters as "unneccessary." They are also "cheap" and largely privately funded to begin with. Every time you walk into The Metropolitan Opera or the Met Museum (or any artistic institution in this country) you can thank private donors, NOT the federal or state governments.
    To give you some numbers...the federal government has spent approximately $4 billion via the National Endowment for the Arts since its creation in 1965. That's about $8.2 million per year for 47 years. In 2010, the federal government spent over $663 billion dollars on the national defense budget alone.
    $8.2 million per year for the arts. $663 billion per year for our military.
    I fully support our armed services and am not implying that we should match arts and defense spending. However, cutting federal support for the arts will never fix the deficit.

    October 9, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. smartaz

    Everyone knows that PBS funding is the biggest concern this country has. I mean we have so many people out of work that we need to have government funded television. This is a priority and should determine our president.

    October 9, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. Oakspar77777

    Romney was asked, by a reporter who works FOR PBS, about cuts to public programs (including PBS). Romney highlighted BB and SS, because SS is one of the most profitable childrens properties on Earth, and yet it recieves government funding.

    Essentially, Big Bird is a multimillionare living on food stamps and welfare – because it can.

    Romney didn't say to fire BB – only that he would have to get a job and work for a living (ie – sell commercials).

    Of course, PBS would be welcome to stay a non-profit and take viewer and corporate donations (tax free), only then it would have to offer enough quality programming to keep people giving. There are plenty of Christian radio and TV stations that do exactly that.

    If you are worried about Big Bird, stop trying to steal my money to keep him on the air. I dislike having my money taken (in taxes), at the fear of the IRS, and given to PBS (a station I can't even get a signal for at my house). If you think it is worthwhile, then PAY FOR IT YOURSELF.

    Ending PBS's government funding would not strike it from the air, and SS could and would survive on a commercial network. You certainly cannot claim any kind of "neutrality" for Public Broadcasting that comes from government funding – the reactions of the liberal staff at SS are proof of that.

    October 9, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Mixtape21

    Romney got "cute" by bringing up Big Bird in the first place, as opposed to any other PBS program. Now he complains when the Obama campaign responds in an equally "cute" way? Being POTUS requires a thicker skin...

    October 9, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. Goodgriefness

    1960's Mom....I agree 100% with you on the Big Bird spot...although it was a little funny...they should have left that crap to SNL to come up with.

    October 9, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. reality

    Anyone ever had to budget? You know, reduce spending to avoid an overdrawn account? Frequently incidental and unnecessary expenses are the the place to start because they really add up. That's the process Romeny described, citing PBS as an example. In this case an example that will survive just fine without taxpayer support. Which makes me wonder why this is an issue ANYONE would object to given the state of our collective finances. The Obama quote appears to be the answer to that question.

    October 9, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Patriot and American

    Obama should be EASILY nailing Romney on: The 47%; Offshoring American Jobs; Shifting his message in the first debate from a Tea Party message to a moderate Liberal message – Hammering home that Romney will change his ideas on a dime to get what he wants! He has ZERO consistency, ZERO sincerity...Obama and Biden had best hammer Romney into the ground aggressively in the next two debates.

    October 9, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. A W Messenger

    Perhaps Obama could show up to the next debate dressed in an Oscar the Grouch costume.

    October 9, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. Mike

    many of us grew up with sesame street. There is nothing wrong with a little public funding for good clean childrens television. Now cut an aircraft carrier or two as well as a few jet planes and some massive government waste like the war on drugs and then you have a real plan to get behind.

    October 9, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Nostrathomas

    Can anybody using the term " big oil" tell me what the average annual profit margin is for these "big oil" companies, how that comares to all other industries, what they propose in how they would regulate, tax, treat these "big oil companies" and what effect those actions would have on the economy in general?

    Tossing out grips about " big oil" like it's satanic, without understanding their net profit margin is roughly 6% per year is ignorant at best. Democrats will do nothing but label these energy companies as greedy and pander to their constituents because it appears to make them look good. There are over 110 industries out there that make more net profit annually than "big oil". Can you "big oil" badgers name one of the top 5?" Here's a clue: publishing.

    Do yourselves a favor and do a little research before sounding like a cracked out parrot that repeats the garbage propaganda spread by Pelosi, Reid and other do-mornings on the radical left side of the aisle.

    October 9, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. Daniel J

    The reason everybody's focusing on it is that it's the only specific plan he gave during the debate to reduce the deficit, and it makes no sense.

    October 9, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. Gary

    The reason it's troubling is because it is the same old way we in this country have always done things.
    Go after something small and easy first that looks like something because the average person sees it instead of going for the difficult real world facing problems that is not seen so clearly. We do this with Police, roads and bridges, education, drug laws. All of it we go after the easy stuff, because it's easy.
    PBS is a drop in the bucket compared to other other issues. BTW, you think PBS is expensive? Try paying for BBC... in England...

    October 9, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. Barry In Las Vegas

    Obama's focus is hanging out with movie stars, singers and trying to make an issue out of Big Bird instead of focusing on getting people back to work and cutting the debt. He's a hell of campaigner and money raiser and speaks great with the aid of a teleprompter – being a good President – NOT SO MUCH.

    October 9, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. ObamaUntil2016

    Moms everywhere, children everywhere, know what cutting PBS will do. Good bye Mittens!

    October 9, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  24. jolink653

    Am I the only one who is tired of politicians spending more time and money talking about what the other candidate can't do for you rather what they themselves can do to make the country better? All I've seen from the Obama campaign is shots at Romney...Stop the mudslinging and talk about what you're going to do to fix the country

    October 9, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  25. Eric in Boston

    When all you can run on is the Big Bird issue then that’s what you run on. The sheeple can all see that Obama has no record to stand on so he tries to shift the debate to the big Yellow bird we all grew up with.

    This is why Obama will lose. He is a failure, we need someone who can think on his feet and get things done. So long Obama, step up to the plate sheeple. I am from Boston and many in the swing states have been fed nothing but lies about Mitt Romney.

    The president is counting on the sheeple of the swing states to believe his lies and now he wants you to debate Big Bird.

    Truly SAD.

    October 9, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
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