The Washington Times - November 3, 2012, 12:16PM

Republican Newt Gingrich was less-than-impressed by Saturday’s tongue-in-cheek “Million Puppet March” in Washington, D.C.

The march, a protest of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign promise to defund PBS and its programming, including “Sesame Street,” reminded the former House speaker of his own budget-cutting efforts of the 1990s.

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“This happened to me back in 1995. Anytime you mention PBS, they trot out Big Bird, which is an absurdity,” Mr. Gingrich said on Fox News.

“The actor who plays Big Bird makes $317,000 a year for being inside a bird suit. The Sesame Street Company makes $800 million a year gross revenue of which 6 percent comes from the government. But it is so important to liberals,” Mr. Gingrich, who made his own unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination earlier this year.

“These institutes will all survive. Nobody’s talking about closing them. They will all survive in a free society because, presumably, people want them to survive,” he said. “The idea that you have to take a government and borrow money from the Chinese to give to Big Bird is an absurdity. Conservatives ought to be cheerfully prepared to debate it.”