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[[File:Mitt Romney Protect Big Oil, Fire Big Bird|thumb|right|300px|A selection of media stories about the Big Bird comment.]]
 
[[File:Mitt Romney Protect Big Oil, Fire Big Bird|thumb|right|300px|A selection of media stories about the Big Bird comment.]]
   
During the '''2012 United States presidential election debates''', presidential candidate Mitt Romney referenced [[Big Bird]] in relation to funding for [[PBS]], when addressing moderator Jim Lehrer:
+
During the '''2012 United States presidential election debates''', presidential candidate Mitt Romney referenced [[Big Bird]] in relation to funding for [[PBS]], when addressing moderator Jim Lehrer:
 
"I'm sorry, Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I'm not going to -- I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from [[China]] to pay for. That's number one."
 
"I'm sorry, Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I'm not going to -- I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from [[China]] to pay for. That's number one."
   
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==Sesame Workshop and PBS response==
 
==Sesame Workshop and PBS response==
 
[[Image:debatetweet.png|thumb|300px|Big Bird alluded to Romney's remark in an official Sesame Street tweet.]]
 
[[Image:debatetweet.png|thumb|300px|Big Bird alluded to Romney's remark in an official Sesame Street tweet.]]
[[Video:Saturday Night Live - Weekend Update Big Bird|thumb|right|300px|Big Bird commented on all the attention in an appearance on ''Saturday Night Live''.]]
+
[[File:Saturday Night Live - Weekend Update Big Bird|thumb|right|300px|Big Bird commented on all the attention in an appearance on ''Saturday Night Live''.]]
[[Sesame Workshop]] released a blog post in response:
+
[[Sesame Workshop]] released a blog post in response:
 
{{quote|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.}}
 
{{quote|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.}}
   
Sherri Westin of Sesame Workshop appeared on [[CNN]]Thursday morning, October 4th, to clarify:
+
Sherri Westin of Sesame Workshop appeared on [[CNN]]Thursday morning, October 4th, to clarify:
 
{{quote|Sesame Workshop receives very, very little funding from PBS. So, we are able to raise our funding through philanthropic, through our licensed product, which goes back into the educational programming, through corporate underwriting and sponsorship. So quite frankly, you can debate whether or not there should be funding of public broadcasting. But when they always try to tout out Big Bird, and say we’re going to kill Big Bird—that is actually misleading, because Sesame Street will be here.}}
 
{{quote|Sesame Workshop receives very, very little funding from PBS. So, we are able to raise our funding through philanthropic, through our licensed product, which goes back into the educational programming, through corporate underwriting and sponsorship. So quite frankly, you can debate whether or not there should be funding of public broadcasting. But when they always try to tout out Big Bird, and say we’re going to kill Big Bird—that is actually misleading, because Sesame Street will be here.}}
   
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''[[Saturday Night Live]]'', ''[[Late Night with Jimmy Fallon]]'', Piers Morgan, ''[[Today]]'', and ''[[Good Morning America]]'' all offered appearance spots to Big Bird. While it was said that Sesame Workshop declined all offers,<ref>[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/04/big-bird-debates_n_1940395.html Huffington Post: Big Bird Asked To Appear On Jimmy Fallon, Piers Morgan And More]</ref> Big Bird did make a surprise appearance on ''Saturday Night Live'' on October 6, 2012.<ref>[http://www.mediaite.com/tv/big-bird-directly-responds-to-mitt-romney-on-snl/ Mediaite: Big Bird Responds To Mitt Romney On SNL (includes video)]</ref> Avoiding any direct political statement, the bird discussed all of the tweets he got and his sudden fame (how everyone now looks at him when he goes down the street, when he used to be able to blend in like any other eight-foot tall talking bird) and made one non-partisan political joke (about how debates are really enjoyed by "de fishes").
 
''[[Saturday Night Live]]'', ''[[Late Night with Jimmy Fallon]]'', Piers Morgan, ''[[Today]]'', and ''[[Good Morning America]]'' all offered appearance spots to Big Bird. While it was said that Sesame Workshop declined all offers,<ref>[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/04/big-bird-debates_n_1940395.html Huffington Post: Big Bird Asked To Appear On Jimmy Fallon, Piers Morgan And More]</ref> Big Bird did make a surprise appearance on ''Saturday Night Live'' on October 6, 2012.<ref>[http://www.mediaite.com/tv/big-bird-directly-responds-to-mitt-romney-on-snl/ Mediaite: Big Bird Responds To Mitt Romney On SNL (includes video)]</ref> Avoiding any direct political statement, the bird discussed all of the tweets he got and his sudden fame (how everyone now looks at him when he goes down the street, when he used to be able to blend in like any other eight-foot tall talking bird) and made one non-partisan political joke (about how debates are really enjoyed by "de fishes").
   
On October 9, in response to the Obama campaign ad using Big Bird, Sesame Workshop issued a second statement:
+
On October 9, in response to the Obama campaign ad using Big Bird, Sesame Workshop issued a second statement:
 
{{quote|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 both campaigns remove Sesame Street characters and trademarks from their campaign materials.}}
 
{{quote|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 both campaigns remove Sesame Street characters and trademarks from their campaign materials.}}
   
 
==Editorial cartoons==
 
==Editorial cartoons==
 
<gallery widths="208" position="center" captionalign="center" spacing="small" orientation="landscape">
 
<gallery widths="208" position="center" captionalign="center" spacing="small" orientation="landscape">
  +
BBvR_Steve_Benson_Arizona_Republic.jpg|{{GNH|Arizona Republic}}Steve Benson
 
BBvR_John_Deering_Arkansas_Democrat_Gazette.jpg|{{GNH|Arkansas Democrat Gazette}}John Deering
 
BBvR_John_Deering_Arkansas_Democrat_Gazette.jpg|{{GNH|Arkansas Democrat Gazette}}John Deering
 
BBvR Mike Luckovich.jpg|{{GNH|Atlanta Journal}}Mike Luckovich
 
BBvR Mike Luckovich.jpg|{{GNH|Atlanta Journal}}Mike Luckovich
 
BBvR Rick McKee Augusta Chronicle.jpg|{{GNH|Augusta Chronicle}}Rick McKee
 
BBvR Rick McKee Augusta Chronicle.jpg|{{GNH|Augusta Chronicle}}Rick McKee
  +
BBvR_Adam_Zyglis_The_Buffalo_News.jpg|{{GNH|The Buffalo News}}Adam Zyglis
  +
BBvR_Chuck_Asay_Colorado_Springs_Gazette.jpg|{{GNH|Colorado Springs Gazette}}Chuck Asay
  +
BBvR_Nate_Beeler_The_Columbus_Dispatch.jpg|{{GNH|The Columbus Dispatch}}Nate Beeler
  +
BBvR_Taylor_Jones_Hoover_Digest.jpg|{{GNH|Hoover Digest}}Taylor Jones
 
BBvR Nick Anderson Houston Chronicle.png|{{GNH|Houston Chronicle}}Nick Anderson
 
BBvR Nick Anderson Houston Chronicle.png|{{GNH|Houston Chronicle}}Nick Anderson
  +
BBvR_Michael_Ramirez_Investors_Business_Daily.jpg|{{GNH|Investors Business Daily}}Michael Ramirez
 
BBvR Danziger.jpg|{{GNH|Los Angeles Times}}Jeff Danzinger
 
BBvR Danziger.jpg|{{GNH|Los Angeles Times}}Jeff Danzinger
 
LA_Times_David_Horsey.jpg|{{GNH|Los Angeles Times}}David Horsey
 
LA_Times_David_Horsey.jpg|{{GNH|Los Angeles Times}}David Horsey
 
BBvR Rob Tornoe.jpg|{{GNH|Media Matters}}Rob Tornoe
 
BBvR Rob Tornoe.jpg|{{GNH|Media Matters}}Rob Tornoe
  +
BBvR_Neues_Deutschland.jpg|{{GNH|Neues Deutschland}}
 
BBvR Omaha World-Herald.jpg|{{GNH|Omaha World-Herald}}Jeff Koterba
 
BBvR Omaha World-Herald.jpg|{{GNH|Omaha World-Herald}}Jeff Koterba
 
BBvR Ottawa Citizen.jpg|{{GNH|Ottawa Citizen}}Cameron Cardow
 
BBvR Ottawa Citizen.jpg|{{GNH|Ottawa Citizen}}Cameron Cardow
  +
BBvR_Eric_Allie_Pioneer_Press.jpg|{{GNH|Pioneer Press}}Eric Allie
 
BBvR_Randy_Bish_Pittsburgh_Tribune-Review.jpg|{{GNH|Pittsburgh Tribune-Review}}Randy Bish
 
BBvR_Randy_Bish_Pittsburgh_Tribune-Review.jpg|{{GNH|Pittsburgh Tribune-Review}}Randy Bish
  +
BBvR_Randy_Bish_Pittsburgh_Tribune-Review_pull_ad.jpg|{{GNH|Pittsburgh Tribune-Review}}Randy Bish
 
BBvR Mark Streeter Savannah Morning News.jpg|{{GNH|Savannah Morning News}}Mark Streeter
 
BBvR Mark Streeter Savannah Morning News.jpg|{{GNH|Savannah Morning News}}Mark Streeter
  +
BBvR_Mark_Streeter_Savannah_Morning_News_freefall.jpg|{{GNH|Savannah Morning News}}Mark Streeter
 
BBvR John Cole Scranton Times-Tribune.jpg|{{GNH|Scranton Times-Tribune}}John Cole
 
BBvR John Cole Scranton Times-Tribune.jpg|{{GNH|Scranton Times-Tribune}}John Cole
  +
BBvR_Christo_Kormarnitski_Sega.jpg|{{GNH|Sega}}Christo Kormarnitski
 
BBvR_Chris_Britt_State_Journal-Register.jpg|{{GNH|State Journal-Register}}Chris Britt
 
BBvR_Chris_Britt_State_Journal-Register.jpg|{{GNH|State Journal-Register}}Chris Britt
  +
BBvR_Steve_Kelley_The_Times-Picayune.jpg|{{GNH|The Times-Picayune}}Steve Kelley
 
BBvR_Toronto_Star.jpg|{{GNH|Toronto Star}}
 
BBvR_Toronto_Star.jpg|{{GNH|Toronto Star}}
 
BBvR_Cal_Grondahl_Utah_Standard_Examiner.jpg|{{GNH|Utah Standard-Examiner}}Cal Grondahl
 
BBvR_Cal_Grondahl_Utah_Standard_Examiner.jpg|{{GNH|Utah Standard-Examiner}}Cal Grondahl
  +
BBvR_Bill_Day_vulture.jpg|{{GNH|Vulture}}Bill Day
  +
BBvR_Chip_Bok.jpg|Chip Bok
  +
BBvR_Chip_Bok_royalties.jpg|Chip Bok
 
BBvR_Ken_Catalino.jpg|Ken Catalino
 
BBvR_Ken_Catalino.jpg|Ken Catalino
 
BBvR Bill Day.jpg|Bill Day
 
BBvR Bill Day.jpg|Bill Day
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[[File:Big Bird - Obama for America TV Ad|thumb|right|300px]]
 
[[File:Big Bird - Obama for America TV Ad|thumb|right|300px]]
 
[[File:Big Bird Doesn't Stand A Chance Against Mitt Romney - CONAN on TBS|thumb|right|300px|From ''[[Conan]]'']]
 
[[File:Big Bird Doesn't Stand A Chance Against Mitt Romney - CONAN on TBS|thumb|right|300px|From ''[[Conan]]'']]
* The Obama campaign released an ad on [[YouTube]], titled "Big Bird", focusing on the comments versus the "Wall Street" issue. The video features two actual ''Sesame Street'' clips: one of Big Bird stating "It's me, Big Bird" and another of him sleeping in [[Big Bird's nest|his nest]].
+
:''See also [[The Million Puppet March]]''
  +
* The Obama campaign released an ad on [[YouTube]], titled "Big Bird", focusing on the comments versus the "Wall Street" issue. The video features two actual ''Sesame Street'' clips: one of Big Bird stating "It's me, Big Bird" and another of him sleeping in [[Big Bird's nest|his nest]].
 
**The ad prompted a response from Sesame Workshop, asking for its removal and reitierating its nonpartisan stance: "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."<ref>[http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57528812/sesame-workshop-to-obama-take-big-bird-ad-down/ CBS News]. "Sesame Workshop to Obama: Take Big Bird Ad Down." October 9. 12:38pm</ref>
 
**The ad prompted a response from Sesame Workshop, asking for its removal and reitierating its nonpartisan stance: "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."<ref>[http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57528812/sesame-workshop-to-obama-take-big-bird-ad-down/ CBS News]. "Sesame Workshop to Obama: Take Big Bird Ad Down." October 9. 12:38pm</ref>
 
**In turn, the Republican National Committee, on the official [http://www.gop.com/news/gop-blog/big-bird-backfire/ GOP blog], has referred to the Obama campaign's reactions to Romney's comment as "Big Bird Backfire," suggesting he should be spending more time on more important issues.<ref name="ABCNews-history" />
 
**In turn, the Republican National Committee, on the official [http://www.gop.com/news/gop-blog/big-bird-backfire/ GOP blog], has referred to the Obama campaign's reactions to Romney's comment as "Big Bird Backfire," suggesting he should be spending more time on more important issues.<ref name="ABCNews-history" />

Latest revision as of 22:22, June 19, 2014

Mitt Romney Loves Big Bird - Presidential Debate00:20

Mitt Romney Loves Big Bird - Presidential Debate

Mitt Romney plucks Big Bird02:31

Mitt Romney plucks Big Bird

A CNN segment.

Mitt Romney Protect Big Oil, Fire Big Bird01:58

Mitt Romney Protect Big Oil, Fire Big Bird

A selection of media stories about the Big Bird comment.

During the 2012 United States presidential election debates, presidential candidate Mitt Romney referenced Big Bird in relation to funding for PBS, when addressing moderator Jim Lehrer: "I'm sorry, Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I'm not going to -- I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That's number one."

U.S. Presidential incumbent Barack Obama commented on the remarks at multiple stops. First, in Denver after the debate, on October 4th, he jokingly commented "Thank goodness someone is finally getting tough on Big Bird. We didn't know Big Bird was leading the federal deficit."[1] In Fairfax, Virginia on October 5, he addressed the issue again in similar language. "For all you moms and kids out there, don't worry: somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird. Rounding him up. Elmo's got to watch out too. Governor Romney plans to let Wall Street run wild again, but bring the hammer down on Sesame Street." (YouTube)

Romney clarified that, "I'm not going to kill Big Bird, but there's going to be ads on PBS, to pay for Big Bird." He also commented "He's going to have to get used to Kellogg's Corn Flakes."[2]

Romney has mentioned Big Bird (as well as Bert and Ernie) in his campaign remarks as early as December 28, 2011.[2]

Sesame Workshop and PBS responseEdit

Debatetweet

Big Bird alluded to Romney's remark in an official Sesame Street tweet.

Saturday Night Live - Weekend Update Big Bird02:19

Saturday Night Live - Weekend Update Big Bird

Big Bird commented on all the attention in an appearance on Saturday Night Live.

Sesame Workshop released a blog post in response:

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.

Sherri Westin of Sesame Workshop appeared on CNNThursday morning, October 4th, to clarify:

Sesame Workshop receives very, very little funding from PBS. So, we are able to raise our funding through philanthropic, through our licensed product, which goes back into the educational programming, through corporate underwriting and sponsorship. So quite frankly, you can debate whether or not there should be funding of public broadcasting. But when they always try to tout out Big Bird, and say we’re going to kill Big Bird—that is actually misleading, because Sesame Street will be here.

Big Bird himself indirectly referenced the remarks on Twitter: "Big Bird: My bed time is usually 7:45, but I was really tired yesterday and fell asleep at 7! Did I miss anything last night?"

Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Piers Morgan, Today, and Good Morning America all offered appearance spots to Big Bird. While it was said that Sesame Workshop declined all offers,[3] Big Bird did make a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live on October 6, 2012.[4] Avoiding any direct political statement, the bird discussed all of the tweets he got and his sudden fame (how everyone now looks at him when he goes down the street, when he used to be able to blend in like any other eight-foot tall talking bird) and made one non-partisan political joke (about how debates are really enjoyed by "de fishes").

On October 9, in response to the Obama campaign ad using Big Bird, Sesame Workshop issued a second statement:

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 both campaigns remove Sesame Street characters and trademarks from their campaign materials.

Editorial cartoonsEdit

Other responsesEdit

Big Bird - Obama for America TV Ad00:31

Big Bird - Obama for America TV Ad

Big Bird Doesn't Stand A Chance Against Mitt Romney - CONAN on TBS00:56

Big Bird Doesn't Stand A Chance Against Mitt Romney - CONAN on TBS

From Conan

See also The Million Puppet March
  • The Obama campaign released an ad on YouTube, titled "Big Bird", focusing on the comments versus the "Wall Street" issue. The video features two actual Sesame Street clips: one of Big Bird stating "It's me, Big Bird" and another of him sleeping in his nest.
    • The ad prompted a response from Sesame Workshop, asking for its removal and reitierating its nonpartisan stance: "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."[5]
    • In turn, the Republican National Committee, on the official GOP blog, has referred to the Obama campaign's reactions to Romney's comment as "Big Bird Backfire," suggesting he should be spending more time on more important issues.[2]
  • During the debate, "Big Bird" was one of Google's top four rising search terms (the others were "Simpson Bowles", "Dodd Frank", and "Who is winning the debate").[6]
  • Social media responses cited in the media included a Facebook campaign to elect Big Bird president, an Indiegogo campaign, and @FiredBigBird, a parody account with over 31,000 followers. According to USA Today, "the Twitter Government account, @gov, tweeted that the phrase "Big Bird" had generated about 17,000 tweets per minute."
  • The controversy was referenced and lampooned on such shows as The Daily Show, Conan, The Colbert Report, The Tonight Show, The Late Show, Late Night, The Late Late Show, Ellen, and Jimmy Kimmel Live, among others.

SourcesEdit

  1. Raw Story. Edwards, David. "Obama: ‘Thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird’." Thursday, October 4th, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Michael Falcone, "Mitt Romney’s History With Big Bird: Ruffling Feathers Since Dec. 2011", ABC News, 9 October 2012.
  3. Huffington Post: Big Bird Asked To Appear On Jimmy Fallon, Piers Morgan And More
  4. Mediaite: Big Bird Responds To Mitt Romney On SNL (includes video)
  5. CBS News. "Sesame Workshop to Obama: Take Big Bird Ad Down." October 9. 12:38pm
  6. http://dailycaller.com/2012/10/04/big-bird-a-top-google-search-during-presidential-debate/

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