Big Bird wants to be left alone



That night in Denver, Mitt Romney left behind on stage two men and a muppet hurting badly. The men, Barack Obama and moderator Jim Lehrer, have since recovered.

But not the muppet, Big Bird, star Sesame Street, which runs in India as Galli Galli Sim Sim. It finds itself in the middle of a bruising debate on US budgetary deficits.

Sesame Workshop, producers of the children’s show, issued a statement Tuesday asking both campaigns to remove their “characters and trademarks from their campaign material”.

Sesame Workshop, a non-profit organization, gets US federal funding, which Romney said at the debate was the kind of government spending he wants to end to balance the budget.

That was not the first time he had mentioned Big Bird, which has been part of his stump routine for a year now. But with 60 million viewers tuned in, Big Bird
took off.

Not a day has gone by since the October 3 debate without Big Bird getting mentioned by one or both campaigns, their supporters, TV news anchors and late night comedians.

“So for all you moms and kids out there, don’t worry — somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird,” Barack Obama, who lost the debate, said in Virginia on
Tuesday.

At another rally, in Virginia state, his wife Michelle Obama picked up the charge: “We all know good and well that cutting Sesame Street is no way to balance the budget.”

Here is what Romney had said: “I like PBS (a TV network). I love Big Bird … but I’m not going to keep on spending money on things, and borrow money from China to pay for it.”

He also told moderator Lehrer, who works at PBS, he would have to go too, much as he liked him. “I’m sorry Jim,” Romney said, in his best I-like-firing impression of himself.

The Republican is now wondering what the fuss is about.

“We’ve got one out of six Americans now in poverty, 47 million on food stamps,” Romney said in a TV interview. “And the president is spending his time talking about saving Big Bird.”

Indeed.

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