Hoping to refocus voter attention away from a lackluster debate performance, the Obama campaign released a new ad that mocks Mitt Romney for "finally getting tough on Big Bird."
But the move was immediately protested by Sesame Workshop via a post on their website that read, "We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down."
The controversial ad comes in response to Romney's debate promise to stop subsidizing PBS, which he clarified by saying, "I like PBS. I love Big Bird . . . " adding that he would not, "keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it."
Watch the video here.
In the Obama campaign's new 30-second TV spot, an ominous voiceover compares Big Bird to "gluttons of greed" Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay, and Dennis Kozlowski. "And the evil genius who towered over them?" the ad asks, "One man has the guts to speak his name."
Sound bites of Romney saying "Big Bird" follow.
On his Twitter site, Romney campaign spokesman Ted Newton responded by saying, "Obama's Mickey Mouse campaign has gone to the birds. We can't afford four more years of this."
Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee released a graphic featuring another Sesame Street character, The Count
"After failing to lay out a plan for his second term — let alone defend his first term — in last week's debate, all the president has been talking about recently to distract from his poor performance is Big Bird and Elmo," said a press release from the RNC.
The ad seemed ironic to many pundits, who recalled then candidate Obama saying in a 2008 acceptance speech saying, "If you don't have a record to run on, you make a big election about small things."
Big Bird has come to symbolize PBS to millions of Americans who grew up with the iconic character on the show Sesame Street, which debuted in 1969. The show is by far the most profitable PBS enterprise and is shown in over 120 countries around the world, including China.
Sesame Workshop's protest follows similar statements released by the AARP and Princeton economist Harvey Rosen immediately after the Oct. 3rd debate.
During the debate, President Obama claimed that the AARP had stated the Romney plan would "weaken Medicare substantially" and that the organization supported Obamacare. In response, AARP Senior Vice President John Hishta said, in part, "America's voters deserve more than talking points" and “AARP has never consented to the use of its name by any candidate or political campaign."
Meanwhile, Professor Rosen told the Weekly Standard that the Obama campaign had misrepresented his work after the President stated during the debate that both Rosen and Harvard economist Martin Feldstein "concede that paying for Romney’s tax cuts would require large tax increases on families making between $100,000 and $200,000."
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