Election 2012

Obama in denial over Romney’s rise, pledges to fight for ‘Big Bird’

Obama in denial over Romney’s rise, pledges to fight for 'Big Bird'

President Barack Obama campaigned in Ohio Tuesday hoping to boost his sagging popularity there in the aftermath of his first debate with Mitt Romney that has given the Republican challenger a needed boost of support in the key swing state.

One new poll shows Romney pulling ahead of Obama’s one-time 10-point lead — the American Research Group says Obama now has 47 percent of the state’s support, compared to 48 percent for Romney.

But the Obama campaign is ignoring Romney’s rise in popularity.

Ohio is Obama Country, we absolutely feel that,” Jen Psaki, campaign spokeswoman told reporters en route with the president to Ohio State for an event encouraging students to vote.

“We’re about to open our 120th office in the state. We’ve been on the ground organizing for three and a half years since the last campaign … and ultimately we know it’s more than what the ads are that are on the airwaves,” Psaki said.

Asked whether the campaign will adhere to a request by Sesame Street to pull a new ad funded by Obama that features “Big Bird” and suggests Romney will kill the television show if elected, Psaki said, “we have received that request, we’re reviewing it.”

“I will say it doesn’t change the fact that there’s only one candidate in this race who is going to continue to fight for Big Bird and Elmo, and he is riding on this plane,” Psaki said.

Romney used the popular children’s show character as an example of government subsidies that could be cut, rather than borrowing more money from China to pay for it.

“There’s been a strong grassroots outcry over the attacks on ‘Big Bird.’ This is something that mothers across the country are alarmed about and we’re tapping into that,” Psaki said.

Meanwhile, Psaki said the campaign is confident Vice President Joe Biden will deliver a strong performance when he debates Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan in a debate Thursday night.

“There’s no more passionate advocate for the administration’s approach to the last four years to the challenges the middle class is facing. And we expect he’ll make the case for sending the president and himself back for another four years,” Psaki said.

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