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Sesame Workshop Calls on Obama Team to Pull Big Bird Ad

The group behind "Sesame Street," citing non-partisanship, objected to being pulled into the political fray

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Romney said he won't "borrow money from China" to fund things like Sesame Street.

    Sesame Workshop is calling on the Obama campaign to pull an advertisement, which casts Mitt Romney as a villainous Big Bird-attacker, citing its non-partisanship.

    The narrator of the 30-second ad, released Tuesday on national cable networks, introduces Romney as the only man who “has the guts” to speak the name of the “evil genius” who towered over the likes of Bernie Madoff and Ken Lay.

    “Big. Yellow. A menace to our economy,” the ominous voice-over says. “Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about. It’s Sesame Street.”

    Sesame Workshop responded Tuesday with a statement on its blog.

    “Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns,” the statement said. “We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down.”

    The ad comes after Romney repeated during the first presidential debate last week a promise he has made before—that if elected president he would cut federal funding to the Public Broadcast Service in order to cut the nation’s deficit.

    "I'm sorry Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS," Romney said last Wednesday to debate moderator and PBS anchor Jim Lehrer. "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 keep spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for them."

    The comment generated a social media uproar, spawning satirical Twitter accounts and a series of Photoshopped images that featured a down-and-out Big Bird alongside a grinning Romney.

    On Tuesday, an Obama spokesperson called the response "a strong grassroots outcry."

    "This is something that mothers across the country are alarmed about and we're tapping into that," Jen Psaki said. "...The larger point here is that this is about priorities and choices. And when your first offering for your plans to bring down the deficit is a combination of a $5 trillion tax cut for millionaires and billionaires and cutting funding to Big Bird, it's hard to take your plan seriously."


    Psaki added that the Obama campaign is "reviewing" Sesame Workshop's request to pull the ad.

    On Tuesday Romney broke his silence on the issue telling a crowd in Iowa that “you have to scratch your head when the president spends the last week talking about saving Big Bird,” according to The Associated Press.

    A Romney spokeswoman, Amanda Henneberg, offered additional criticism, accusing the president in a statement of focusing on less serious matters “with 23 million people struggling for work, incomes falling, and gas prices soaring."