The Sesame Street Workshop has asked the Obama campaign to pull an ad featuring Big Bird and mocking GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, after he said in a debate that he planned to balance the federal budget in part by cutting the federal subsidy that helps pay for "Sesame Street" and other Public Broadcasting Service programs.
"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," the organization said on its website.
During last week's debate, Romney said he would cut federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which received roughly $450 million in federal funds this year. President Barack Obama's folks contrasted that sharply with other, arguably more menacing threats to the nation's economic health on Wall Street.
The ad opens with images of Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay, Dennis Kozlowski, and other disgraced Wall Street figures, calling them "criminals, gluttons of greed." It contrasts them with images of Big Bird. "Big, yellow, a menace to our economy," the ad says (obviously sarcastically) of the Sesame Street character.
You can watch the full ad here:
Big Bird has been a huge celebrity lately—staying up way past his bed-time to appear on "Saturday Night Live." And a much more politicized (and obviously fake) version of the bird, @bigbird, has nearly 30,000 followers on Twitter.
Initially, the Obama campaign included a statement from the show in materials sent around to reporters about the ad:
"'Sesame Street' has been a proud partner of PBS for 43 years, and is dependent on PBS to distribute our commercial-free educational programming to all children in the United States. At a time when improvements in school readiness are recognized as being much needed for a significant number of America's preschoolers, PBS's ability to connect Big Bird and Friends to these children is essential. We highly value that connection. Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization. We do not comment on political campaigns, but we're happy we can all agree that everyone likes Big Bird."