President Obama’s campaign made a foray into satire on Tuesday, unveiling a new ad that uses Big Bird to mock Republican challenger Mitt Romney for saying he would end the federal subsidy to PBS.
“Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about, it’s Sesame Street,” the ad’s narrator says, implying that Romney’s priorities are out of order.
Romney also has said he would repeal the Dodd-Frank banking regulations passed in 2010, in the wake of the financial crisis. During last week’s presidential debate, Romney tried to explain that he “would repeal and replace it.”
“We’re not going to get rid of all regulation,” Romney said. “You have to have regulation. And there are some parts of Dodd-Frank that make all the sense in the world. You need transparency, you need to have leverage limits,” Romney added, before he was cut short by moderator Jim Lehrer, who anchors PBS’s nightly newscast.
On ending the PBS subsidy, Romney said, “I love Big Bird ... but I’m not going to keep on spending money on things [we need] to borrow money from China to pay for.”
Despite Romney’s explanations, the Obama campaign has pounced on the GOP nominee’s Big Bird line, which he has used before in stump speeches. Obama surrogates worked the yellow-feathered fowl into interviews on the Sunday political talk shows, sent a person dressed as Big Bird to a Romney campaign rally in Derry, N.H. on Monday, and released the ad on Tuesday.
The Romney campaign dismissed the ad as unserious and said the president would rather talk about Big Bird than the economic challenges facing the country.
“The choice in this election is becoming more clear each day,” said Amanda Henneberg, a Romney campaign spokeswoman. “Four years ago, President Obama said that if you don’t have a record to run on, ‘you make a big election about small things.’ With 23 million people struggling for work, incomes falling, and gas prices soaring, Americans deserve more from their president. Mitt Romney knows we can’t afford four more years like the last four, and he will lead us to a real recovery.”
Sesame Workshop, the studio that produces “Sesame Street,” issued a statement on Tuesday morning saying it had asked the Obama campaign to pull the ad, which has appeared only online.
“Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns,” the studio said on its website. “We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down.”Callum Borchers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.