Romney really does like PBS
October 23rd, 2012
11:22 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney really does like PBS

(CNN) - Mitt Romney's latest campaign ad is brought to you by the letters P, B, and S.

The Public Broadcasting Service, home to "Sesame Street" and Big Bird, had its moment in the first presidential debate. Now, PBS lives on in the Republican presidential candidate's advertisements, released on Tuesday.

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Campaigns regularly "fair use" television footage in their advertisements, and sometimes the onscreen graphics give away the source of the clips. Such is the case in Romney's two spots released Tuesday morning, where the graphics of PBS and Boston's WGBH channel 2 - "PBS’s single largest producer of Web and TV content" - are clearly visible onscreen.

Romney has spoken out against federal funding for PBS on the campaign trail and at the first presidential debate, held October 3.

"I'm sorry, Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS," he said to Jim Lehrer, who moderated the debate and anchors "PBS Newshour."

"I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird," he said. "Actually like you, too. But I'm not going to - I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for."

The comment went viral online and became a campaign trail talking point on both sides of the aisle.

"He's trying to sell you on this five-point plan," Obama said at an event in Athens, Ohio. "Then he tries to take another stab at trying to sell you on his $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy. He says it's not going to raise the deficit."

"Then, when you ask him, all right, if you're going to pay for all this, how are you going to pay for it - couldn't tell you," the president continued. "Said he was going to pay for it by cutting Planned Parenthood and Big Bird."

And Obama has mentioned the "Big Bird" moment enough times that Romney has sought to turn it back on the president.

"What he wants to talk about, instead of these people on Food Stamps, instead of the fact that half the kids coming out of college can't find work or college-level work, how that one out of six Americans is living in poverty - what he wants to talk about is how we can save Big Bird," Romney said. "What I want to talk about is how I can help save the American family and get good jobs for the American people."

PBS is partially funded through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which receives about $450 million a year - a small portion of this year's $3.5 trillion federal government spending. "Sesame Street" is produced by Sesame Workshop, which says 93% of its costs are funded by corporate sponsors and licensing.

Other Romney campaign ads released this month have used debate footage aired by CNN and NBC.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. tammyk tammy

    Big Bird made a critical mistake by not holding a fundraiser for Romney. Otherwise Romney would have had his back. OKAY BOYS AND GIRLS, WE NEED 6 MORE DONORS THIS HOUR OR BIG BIRD WILL GET THE PINK SLIP!! We may as well teach them young about the hypocitical world of politics and CEOs who like to fire people.

    October 23, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. griffbos

    LOL nice to see some real afcts out there, PBS has for years provided the stepping stones of generations of pre K children and Romney wants to cut it out, they provide alot of their own programing that is entertaining without being sleaxy and Romney wants to end it...why? so he can give himself and his buddies a nice fat tax cut, there is bigger watse in the Fed budget one can cut without cutting PBS

    October 23, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "After $16 trillion of debt, do you think it is time yet to stop giving our politicians a blank check to borrow money against the next several generations of Americans' incomes?"

    Nope. Which is why it's time for THIS generation of Americans to pay it down, particularly those who benefitted most from said borrowing in the first place...seeing as how a giant portion of it paid for their tax cuts while they failed to create jobs.

    October 23, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    Romney wants to cut off spending because PBS offers quality shows and fair/balance news programs, unlike Fox news...a propoganda tool of Rupert Murdoch.

    October 23, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. WV Gleeman

    Some people might want to play politics but Big Bird is a family member. He IS an american. I have no issue with my money being given to educational programming and by and large that is what you get from PBS. The problem is they are not a political mouthpiece for any party(we are all sorry that science, fact and truth have a liberal bias) and therefore are under the radar because the new plan is to remove anything that doesn't conform to the agenda.

    October 23, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. steve do Romney's Billionaire Libertarian friends the Koch Brothers. Charlie and David Koch have used their money to buy their way onto the Board of Directors of the largest PBS station in the country...WGBH in Boston.

    Unlike other past philanthropists (like the MacCarthur Foundation, or the Hewitt foundation and Carnegie endowments). the Koch's use their charitable giving to buy's disgraceful how the Koch's and Romney are extending their tentacles to control the media and industry and tax policy and education so they can maintain control of the American people. It really is sad....fascism has come to the US in many ways...with the Koch's and Romney leading the charge.

    October 23, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. Reggie from LA

    Four and the Door said: The taxpayers do not need to be paying $450 million to fund PBS. Not when we are $16 trillion in the hole. Mitt Romney is exactly correct. $450 million here and $450 million there and pretty soon you begin seeing why the federal government spends $1 trillion more a year than it collects in revenues. Obama is not managing. Mitt Romney will. Romney/ Ryan 2012.
    He's right. We should be giving it to oil companies in subsidies and to the far wealthier than us. Screw kiddies and their educational stuff. Puleeze. By the way, Romney may love Big Bird and PBS, but he's pandering to a hateful bunch who don't like the Sesame Street neighborhood, but adore K-Street and kiss Wall Street's ring...unwittingly.

    October 23, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. St. James Place

    Give Willard a chance and he will outsource BIG BIRD to China.

    October 23, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. Charlie from the North

    "Mitt Romney's position is brought to you by the letters P. B. and S." Well now you are 2/3rds right. More like "Mitt Romney's position is brought to you by the letters B.S.

    October 23, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. Ronslf Yancey

    If Republicans really care about the future of our children and grandchildren they would have no problem with raising taxes to pay for the two wars they carried off the budget.

    October 23, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. Four and The Door

    I'm still waiting for a credible reason why taxpayers are on the hook for $450 million for a television station. Why does the US Federal Government have a responsibility to spend $450 million a year on a television station?

    October 23, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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