It appears that Big Bird has been caught in the crossfire between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It all began during the first presidential debate with the question of how each candidate plans to resolve the ever-growing national debt crisis. Romney’s response was “I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you too, but I’m not going to spend money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”
So how does he choose to decrease the federal deficit? Why, it’s to cut all funding to PBS, of course, as if his simplistic little solution will actually steer America in the right direction anyway.
Since then, the mention of the children’s program icon grew the public’s attention to the extent that Obama brought up the subject of Sesame Street in his speech at an outdoor rally which took place at Cleveland State University.
“Thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird.”, the President blurts out as the audience quickly laughs, becoming enamored at his attempt of humor. “We didn’t know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit”, he carries on. A shout of Elmo’s name was heard from the crowd, which prompted Obama to ask “Elmo too?”
Although the debate was not the first time Romney brought up Big Bird, as he has done so on several other occasions, the Obama camp just had to take it a step further by airing a campaign ad commercial featuring none other than Big Bird. The commercial was stated in a serious tone, like all other campaign commercials, but only this time, the presence of the classic character was intended to make it all funny.
“Big, yellow, a menace to our ecomony, Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about, it’s Sesame Street. Mitt Romney: taking on our enemies no matter where they nest,” is the line where anyone watching is expected to laugh.
In all honesty, I could not help but laugh when I saw the ad for the first time. I laughed for a number of reasons, one was for the unfamiliar manner of attacking an opposing candidate, which made it sound so awkward, and two, out of nervousness and embarrassment that a program geared towards children has become a greater talking point than the real issues at hand.
Sesame Street tactfully responded to Obama. “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.”
No word has been said on whether the ad was taken down or not, but likewise, Sesame Street replied to Romney’s Big Bird comment. “We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. We do not comment on campaigns, but we’re happy we can all agree that everyone likes Big Bird!”
The reason both candidates made references to Big Bird is simple; they want attention and they’re desperate to get it by any means possible, even if it means acting stupid. Whether it’s upping their charisma in order to garner votes or attempting to take people’s minds off of their poor job performance, they should’ve left Sesame Street, which I watched as a little girl, completely out of the equation. The children who watch Sesame Street are more adult than these two candidates, and for that, I believe they are in need of the time-out chair.