'Sesame Street' Asks Obama Campaign To Pull Big Bird Ad
Earlier today, the campaign to re-elect US President Barack Obama released a new television advertisement capitalizing on Mitt Romney's comments that despite his love for Big Bird and PBS, he would balance the budget by eliminating federal funding for public broadcasting.
Sarcastically painting Big Bird as a "glutton of greed" like Bernie Madoff and Ken Lay, the 30-second video praises the Republican candidate for having the strength to realize that it isn't Wall Street the American people need to worry about... it's Sesame Street that is the true financial threat.
More reminiscent of a segment from The Daily Show or Real Time With Bill Maher than a traditional political ad, the video's biting wit has conservatives predictably outraged. On NBC's Today, Senator John McCain claimed that the new ad belies "a paucity of ideas" from the Obama campaign and accused them of trying to distract voters from the President's record. Defending himself against any backlash, McCain quipped, "I love Big Bird. I'm for an earmark for Big Bird."
However, it isn't only Republicans who aren't happy with the video. Hours later, Sesame Workshop—the production company behind Sesame Street—declared that their organization does not participate in politics and asked that the Obama campaign pull the ad.
"Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down," read the brief statement on their website. In response, a campaign aide confirmed that the Obama camp would be reviewing the Workshop's concerns.
Republicans are already criticizing Obama's Sesame Street references as a smokescreen, but it was Romney who brought Big Bird into the conversation. The video is actually quite clever, although adding some substance to the style would be helpful—perhaps a representation of the miniscule percentage of the federal budget that PBS receives, equaling approximately one one-hundredth of one percent.