Two days after the Obama campaign released a hard-hitting ad against GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney featuring "Sesame Street" character Big Bird, even some Democrats are beginning to wonder whether it was a good idea.
- (Photo: Screenshot/BarackObama.com)
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama's campaign put up an ad mocking Mitt Romney's remarks at last Wednesday's debate, where he included PBS in his plans to cut government spending. Romney notably told moderator Jim Lehrer: "I like PBS, I like Big Bird, I actually like you too."
Obama's ad compares Big Bird to other corporate villains like Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay, and Dennis Kozlowski – at least from what it sees as Romney's view. "Big, yellow, a menace to our economy. Mitt Romney knows it's not Wall Street you have to worry about it, it's 'Sesame Street,'" the narrator of the ad says."Mitt Romney, taking on our enemies, no matter where they nest," it concludes with images of Big Bird going to sleep.
The ad has been attacked both by Mitt Romney and the makers of "Sesame Street", who have demanded that the ad be taken off the air as they do not wish to be mixed up in the 2012 election.
"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," Sesame Workshop said in a statement, responding to Obama's ad.
Romney reminded that America is facing serious issues today and criticized the president for spending his time talking about a character from a children's program.
"These are tough times with real serious issues. You have to scratch your head when the president spends the last week talking about saving Big Bird," the former Massachusetts governor said at an event at Van Meter, Iowa.
The Obama campaign has defended itself by explaining that the point of the Big Bird ad was to highlight Romney's "absurd" plan to tackle the national deficit by cutting funds to PBS.
"The point we're making here is that when Mitt Romney was given the opportunity to lay out how he would address the deficit … his first offering was to cut funding to Big Bird and that is absurd and hard to take seriously," Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
"If that doesn't point out the lack of seriousness with his deficit reduction plan, I am not sure what does. The ad is an opportunity to highlight that," Psaki added.
However, a number of critics seem to be siding with Romney when it comes to the Obama ad, asking why the Obama campaign, which is widely perceived to have lost Wednesday's debate on the economy, is focusing on Big Bird.
"President Obama tried to give the bird to Mitt Romney-but wound up laying an egg," the New York Post wrote on Wednesday.
"I'm not sure I understand why he is doing it," added Bill Galston, a former Bill Clinton adviser.
While Dick Harpootlian, Democratic Party chair in South Carolina, did not outright dismiss the ad, he said that the Obama campaign could have easily pointed the figure at Romney on a different issue when it comes to his Big Bird remarks – the fact that under Romney's suggestions, staff and crew members on PBS might have to lose their jobs.
"There's nothing funny about firing anybody," Harpootlian said. "Why do you smile when you say you are going to fire somebody?"
Comedian Jon Stewart from "The Daily Show" also ridiculed Obama's strategy with the Big Bird ad, telling the president that he should "let it go" and focus on more important issues instead.
The Obama campaign has said it is reviewing Sesame Workshop's request to pull the video.