Big Bird Backlash: Obama Ad Turns Controversy Into Opportunity
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – In last week’s presidential debate, Mitt Romney went after PBS — and Big Bird. Now, the President Barack Obama’s campaign is using it in a new TV ad.
The satirical Obama campaign ad suggests Big Bird is a menace to our society like a corrupt businessman. The unexpected attack could win some key votes.
It was one of the biggest moments of the first presidential debate. In an effort to reduce government spending, Mitt Romney said he’d kick Big Bird out of the nest.
“I am going to stop the subsidy to PBS,” said Romney. “I like PBS. I love Big Bird … But I am not going to keep on spending money on things — to borrow money from China to pay for it.”
The Big Bird backlash made Sesame Street fly to the top of the political radar. The President turned the controversy into an opportunity.
“Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you need to worry about. It’s Sesame Street,” said the ad. “Criminals, gluttons of greed and the evil genius who towered over them? One man has the guts to speak his name. Big Bird … Mitt Romney, taking on the enemy, no matter where they nest.”
“At this point of the campaign, most people are just tired of political ads,” said political analyst Larry Jacobs.
Instead of coming out angry or apologetic, this calculated and unexpected approach may help Obama win some key votes.
“To have a little bit of satire, a little bit of humor in it probably is going to register with the Independent voter who is up for grabs and that’s really what it’s about at this point,” said Jacobs.
In an effort to avoid “ruffling feathers,” Sesame Workshop released a statement saying it won’t participate in political campaigns. As part of its general practice, they asked the ad be removed.
Romney defends his decision saying the ad is no laughing matter.
“These are tough times with real serious issues, so you have to scratch your head when the President spends the last week talking about saving Big Bird,” said Romney.
The Obama campaign said it has received the Sesame Workshop request and is reviewing its concerns.