“What do you think the Big Bird Spot is? What did you think the campaign consisted of?” The Obama Campaign’s Sr. Adviser asked on Thursday night following the vice presidential debate in Kentucky, when I pointed out that a report from Reuters said that Democrats were concerned about a possible backlash over the campaign’s use of Big Bird in a recent campaign ad.
“We released a spot. We created conversation, and I think we succeeded in what we wanted to do. The spot was on a few comedy shows. It wasn’t in our main rotation,” Axelrod said.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said at the debate in Denver last week, “I like PBS, I love Big Bird, I actually like you too [PBS’s moderator Jim Lehrer], but I’m going to stop borrowing money from China to pay for things we don’t need.”
Immediately following those remarks, the Obama campaign went after Romney for wanting to “kill Big Bird” by proposing to cut the PBS subsidy, the station that is the home to the Sesame Workshop which is the production company for Sesame Street. An ad, featuring Big Bird, was immediately posted. Sesame Workshop requested the video be removed right away:
“During the debates, Mitt Romney told America how he plans to pay for those tax cuts he wants to give America’s wealthiest tax payers… by killing Big Bird! We’ve got to stop this guy. Please donate what you can.”
“The fact of the matter is, much like tonight, when Governor Romney challenged us to pay for his promises and reduce the deficit, the only thing he could come up with was, ‘I’m going to eliminate PBS, Axelrod’ Which was one-one thousandth of one percent of the budget. So, you know, it’s kind of joke and we’ve engendered that discussion. I wouldn’t say that it was a central element of our strategy.”