Sesame Street urges Obama campaign to drop Big Bird ad

A person dressed up as Big Bird outside the Romney headquarters in New Hampshire on 8 October 2012 The Obama team has sent activists in Big Bird costumes to Romney campaign events

The creators of Big Bird have called on the Obama campaign to withdraw a new advertisement that uses the character in an attack on rival Mitt Romney.

The ad mocks the Republican candidate for singling out the public broadcaster behind Sesame Street for spending cuts.

Mr Romney said in a presidential debate last week that he would slash funding to PBS, despite liking Big Bird.

Opinion polls suggest Mr Romney has hit Mr Obama's lead after the Republican's strong debate performance.

With election day looming on 6 November, the two White House rivals campaigned on Tuesday in the key election swing state of Ohio.

Big yellow menace?

Sesame Workshop, the non-profit behind the long-running children's show, said in a statement that it was a nonpartisan organisation.

"We do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns," the organisation said.

The first opinion polls after the big debate make uncomfortable reading for President Obama. But polls are only snapshots. What matters is a trend, not a single figure.

Others wonder whether using Big Bird in an ad is a sign of Democratic desperation. That is rather over the top too: it's not chicken to run an internet advert that gets greater exposure because it's funny and the sort of thing people talk and tweet about.

The Obama campaign has to hit hard. My instinct is that the debate does matter. If you are judging the candidates purely on the debate, purely on who you would want to argue your case if you were on death row, there wasn't much doubt who showed the most conviction and passion. This time next week, the president will have a lot to prove in the second debate.

"We have approved no campaign ads and, as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down."

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said the campaign was considering the request.

The US government partially funds PBS and National Public Radio, both targets of conservative politicians.

Mr Obama has used Mr Romney's comments in their first debate to attack the Republican candidate's spending priorities.

The advertisement pokes fun at Mr Romney with clips of him mentioning Big Bird and PBS throughout the campaign.

"One man has the guts to say his name," says the ad, flashing to Mr Romney and then the feathered character.

"Big. Yellow. A menace to our economy. Mitt Romney knows it's not Wall Street you have to worry about. It's Sesame Street."

A Romney spokesman accused the Obama campaign on Tuesday of not focusing on serious issues.

"I just find it troubling that the president's message, the president's focus 28 days from election day, is Big Bird," Kevin Madden told reporters.

The latest Reuters poll suggests Mr Romney has erased Mr Obama's advantage with voters on a range of issues, including the economy.

A Pew Research Center poll indicated Mr Romney was leading the president by four points.

And according to a Gallup poll, Mr Romney was at 49% to Mr Obama's 47% among likely voters. However, Mr Obama was leading in the same survey among registered voters.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Wow, the best political joke in history... and remarkably the best marketing technique I have ever seen a politician use!

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    i just worry about the republicans with their anti abortion, pro creationism, let's bomb the world attitude. they are a huge step backwards and would make the world a scary place to live in again. i'm not saying obama is perfect but he's the lesser of two evils as far as the world stage is concerned, though i agree that economically he may not be best for the USA. he just needs better advisors.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Has it come to this? A political ad using a children's TV character? What next Winnie the Pooh stealing honey from the poor or Kermit the Frog pushing for Obamacare?? The US is clearly in a bad place at the moment - very sad to see.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.


    I don't get this belief that a businessman would be so good at running a country. A country doesn't even resemble a business!

    If you want to be run like a business, expect to be gutted, downsized and then flogged off to the highest bidder.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Indeed, though attacking how he practices it is not. I should know, I'm a member, I'd never vote for him as I believe him to be a Liar, a Hypocrite and an cold-hearted uncaring man who is about as Christian as Genghis Khan! To think that if he wins people will judge my religion based on his actions makes me gag.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    usual deluded comments. So, Obama has made US a better, fairer, more equitable society to live and work in? Obama is a ivory tower academic with a record of huge Govt interventions and spending, massive debt increase and near constant 8% jobless figures. Like it or loathe it, the US is the main engine of the world economy. We need a businessman to run the place, not a pie-in the sky socialist.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    The current political systems of the world have failed. The financial systems have failed. And nobody knows what to replace them with.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Yup doesn't matter who has the best policies. Vote for whoever did best in debate class at school!

    What a way to run a country. They say people get the govements they deserve, nowhere does this seem more true than the US, where if Big bird was standing against Obama on a Pro Gun platform most republicans would vote Big Bird! The same would go for most Democrats if Big Bird were the Pro-Lifer!

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Conviction and passion in a debate are important but if your pulling in the wrong direction it counts for nothing. Making Big Bird+public services worship at the altar of profit and commerce implies a policy that sees no value in good work for its own sake. When $s become your moral guide and low taxes for the few counts more than medicine for the sick then imho you pulling in the wrong direction.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Surely the days of false promises are over? There is no great nirvana!

    We need practical solutions from politicians and Omaha Beach has not delivered anything but spin.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    There's nothing wrong with a politician showing he has a sense of humour in fact i like it, it makes him seem more 'normal'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    28. Attacking Romney's religion is really lazy. It's one of the least offensive things about him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    The American public should make some self-introspection as to "who is the root cause of this turmoil" which is due to two unnecessary wars, failure to regulate the financial sector, reckless tax credits for the rich, eroding the strong American culture of a stronger Middle-Income Group, all took place between 2000-2008. I feel 2008-2012 is great taking into consideration of the bad past prior 2008

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    27 days before the election and the most legitimately cogent argument is about sesame street.

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    "16 billion... 16 billion dollars national debt, ah-ah-ah-ah-ah"

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.


  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Quite a fitting theme, given both choices are muppets.

    2-Party Politics, you're screwed either way...

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    America needs to ask itself whether it wants a careful, thoughtful President with a sense of humour, or a kneejerk President with contempt for half it's population.

    And as for Big Bird, he can sit on the fence (as long as it is strong enough)

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Please not Romney, anyone but Romney. I'd even take George W. back before Romney at least that guy new how to make me laugh!


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