Election 2012

The Big Bird fallout

The Big Bird fallout

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney uncaged his plan at the first presidential debate last week to defund the Public Broadcasting Service, including the children’s program Sesame Street’s character Big Bird, Twitter was aflutter with excitement over the yellow-feathered fowl’s mention.

Romney had said that though he likes Big Bird and PBS, he wouldn’t subsidize the channel if that means borrowing money from China to pay for it.

The kid-friendly oversized bird was a trending topic on the social media platform through the rest of the debate that night, and more and more commentators joined the flock in the days after. A Huffington Post op-ed said Romney would kill both Big Bird and the middle class with his tax policies.

A Los Angeles Times cartoon depicted Big Bird and other Sesame Street characters, Bert and The Count, advising against Romney’s vow to defund the channel. The characters told children that the federal subsidy to public television equaled only six-hours’ worth of defense spending–birdfeed, to be sure.

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign wrapped its talons around Romney’s words and released an ad early Tuesday comparing Big Bird to Wall Street moguls. MSNBC anchors discussed the ad and aired it multiple times throughout the day.

Sesame Street asked the Obama campaign to take down the ad after a few hours, announcing the request in a post on its blog on Tuesday.

Obama gave a speech on Friday and told supporters that Romney was finally getting tough on Big Bird and Sesame Street.

Sen. John S. McCain, III (R-Ariz.) watched the Big Bird ad on MSNBCTuesday morning. “The one thing that President Obama can’t run on is his record and so Big Bird, I guess, is a fun thing to talk about,” he said in response.

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