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 63.

    @32 Actually it's not at all.

    If he gets in it will only be a matter of time before Mormons are all over the white house. It's a sad fact of American politics, the winner gets to put their friends into important positions of power.

    As always people don't see the real danger until it's too late, blinded as they are by the over inflated importance of petty politics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    Haa talk about Puppet Governments Now it's Puppet Presidents/Prime Minister's Just goes to show how far they can stoop just for votes Can you see how they use Advertisements as big business to get you to either buy or vote for them lol children's character's become political so the children can get mom and dad to vote for whoever they ask What a joke political process we all have should be ashamed

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    . I stated that I felt ‘both’ presidential candidates were Muppets!

    Well really!
    A muppet is a puppet operated from behind the scenes, with a fake character that appeals to peoples sentiments, and looks chosen to appeal to their better natures.
    By contrast, A US presidential candidate is.. er.. well.. i.. er.. oh dear!

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    "#52, and my last question? - your silence speaks volumes."

    It really doesn't. Obviously I pay taxes. As for the government "looking after me", there are things that big government can do more cheaply and effectively than individuals acting individually. We probably wouldn't have trains or a fire service or a decent sewage system if I "looked after myself".

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    38.Buzzjack You're so firm!! I bet you loved Thatcher ruining this country, Tebbitt telling unemployed to 'get on their bike!' the current lot calling police plebs, And ROMNEY more interested in what make up to use, to show his best side! Him to have his finger on the button? scares me! you're right not all business people are bad, but there are an awful lot of them mostly your side of the fence

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    Please not Romney, anyone but Romney. I'd even take George W. back before Romney .

    Ok.. Romney it is then. The USA is an example of where the tories would like us to be - higher rates of poverty and illiteracy - thus more susceptible to well funded election campaigns (or lies), whilst low employment rights keep people working without complaint to keep out of poverty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Almost as hilarious as the Jon Stewart skit (Daily Show 08/10). Great to see a politician and their team having a sense of humour. I suspect Obama is waiting until Romney gets a little cocky with his debate "win" (despite Romney cheating and using notes) and then hoist him on his own petard in the second and third debates. Odd how those outside the USA can't understand why anyone would vote for MR

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Please don't politicise Sesame street

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    #52, and my last question? - your silence speaks volumes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Ahh the usual if you aren't a rampant capitalist you are a marxist argument! Mud slinging rather than addressing the point. Then twisting it Romney style by saing that any govenment who has to "look after" any citizen is marxist!
    The fact that the first job of govenment is to protect it's citizens has obviously escaped you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    My message was removed by the other day by the moderators. I stated that I felt ‘both’ presidential candidates were Muppets! Apparently, my statement was “considered likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others”. I now think that Big Bird should be President cos he’s great and far better than the other two Muppets!

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    "do you work for a business? do you get paid by this business?"

    Yes to both

    "does this business look after you?"

    Not really.

    "do you benefit from working for this business?"

    Not as much as they benefit from me working for them.

    This is why I don't want the country run like a business. A country should be run for the benefit of its people, not just individuals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    God help us if Romney get's in... all previous Repub's have shown how "one track minded" they are. War, anti everything that isn't American, pollute the atmosphere some more and earn millions of dollars at the rest of the worlds expense, their middle east slantings, Israel being America's 51's State. There willingness to attack Iran as they did Iraq. WOW! It will be so exiting!!........... NOT!

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    #46 - do you work for a business? do you get paid by this business? does this business look after you? do you benefit from working for this business? do you actively contribute to society with yours and your business's taxes...Would you prefer the Govt to look after you or yourself? All business people are not demons unless you are a Marxist. Are you a Marxist #46?

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Surely the Big Bird character is copyright to the creators?

    Can you imagine if they had used Mickey Mouse just how much Disney would sue for?

    Big error.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    Buzzjack @ 38
    We need a businessman to run the place, not a pie-in the sky socialist.

    Unfortunately businessmen, like Mrs Thatcher's famous housewife, understand budgets only in terms of cash in & out. Economies don't work like that. The velocity of circulation of money & the multiplier effect etc etc are economic concepts that do not fit the simplistic bottom line approach.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    40. PatBenatar
    9 Minutes ago

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

    That's what Margaret Thatcher did, then Gordon gave our gold away to scrap dealers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    Yeah #38, because what we need after businessmen and unrestrained capitalism got is unto this mess is more unrestrained captilism by the same set of businessmen!
    Please explain how the cause of a problem can be the solution to the same problem? I'd love to hear it, because no one else has been able to explain it as yet! Romney will trash America for him and a few fellow businessmen's profit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    Why has it come to this for Obama?, he has failed America and he can't defend his economic record. Romney may be prone to gaffes but as the 2002 winter olympics showed, is a competent leader

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    39. Don't worry, I think even if he wins he'll still be less famous than The Osmonds.


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