Sunday, April 22, 2018

Big Bird in campaign spotlight

NEW YORK — President Barack Obama's campaign deployed Big Bird of Sesame Street fame icon in a new TV ad Tuesday mocking Mitt Romney for saying he would defund public broadcasting if elected.

The foundation backing Sesame Street quickly disavowed the spot, and Romney dismissed it as un-serious even though the Republican hopeful brought Big Bird into the national political conversation at last week's presidential debate.

Big Bird has been a big deal since Romney, in outlining ways he would cut federal spending, said, "I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS," adding, "I like PBS, I love Big Bird."

The Sesame Street dis offered an opening to Obama, who has faced strong backlash for his widely panned debate performance. At campaign appearances since the debate, he has used Romney's remark and referenced other Sesame Street characters to mock his opponent in a way audiences find funny and relatable.

"He said he'd bring down our deficit by going after what has been the biggest driver of our debt and deficits over the last decade — public television, PBS," Obama told people at a fundraiser Monday in San Francisco. The Obama campaign ad echoes that theme.

Romney's comment drew criticism from PBS the day after the debate. The Sesame Workshop, which supports Sesame Street, has asked the Obama campaign to pull the campaign ad.

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