Clearly Mitt Romney ruffled a few feathers with his reference to Big Bird in the first presidential debate. The Obama campaign released a television ad Tuesday mocking Romney for saying Wednesday during the face-off at the University of Denver that he would end federal subsidies for the Public Broadcasting Service, which airs, among other shows, “Sesame Street.”
“Big. Yellow. A menace to our economy. Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about. It’s ‘Sesame Street,’” the narrator says. “Mitt Romney: Taking on our enemies, no matter where they nest.”
The Republican National Committee swung back Tuesday by citing another well-known “Sesame Street” figure: The Count, the Dracula-like Muppet who counts obsessively.
The RNC pointed out that President Obama has delivered since Wednesday “13 desperate one-liners that invoke Sesame Street characters, but has had nary a word to say about the crisis in Libya or his plan to fix the economy.”
Obama has also made five references to Elmo, the fuzzy red Muppet, the RNC reported, such as his remark Monday at a San Francisco fundraiser.
“You didn’t know this, but for all you moms and kids out there, you should have confidence that finally somebody is cracking down on Big Bird,” said Obama, according to the Washington Examiner. “Elmo has been seen in a white Suburban. He’s driving for the border.”
The entire spectre prompted some eye-rolling from Arizona Sen. John McCain, who said Tuesday on NBC-TV’s “The Today Show” that the Obama ad “may show a paucity of ideas and ways to criticize Mitt Romney.”
“The one thing President Obama can’t run on is his record, so Big Bird, I guess, is a fun thing to talk about,” said the Republican McCain, adding that, “I love Big Bird. I’m for an earmark for Big Bird.”
Not amused was Sesame Workshop, which produces “Sesame Street.” In a statement, the organization said that it had asked the Obama campaign to remove the Sesame-themed ads.
“Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down,” said the statement.
Republicans said Tuesday the president’s focus on a children’s television show is evidence that the Obama campaign is flailing. The Romney camp sent out a video from the 2008 campaign in which Obama said that when candidates run out of ideas, “you make a big election about small things.”
“You’ve got a federal deficit – federal debt that’s now over $16 trillion,” said Romney spokesman Kevin Madden, according to The Washington Times. “And I just find it troubling that the president’s message, the president’s focus, 28 days from election day, is Big Bird.”