Sesame Street: Free Big Bird

Photograph by Jim Cole/AP Photo

A person dressed up as Big Bird holds a sign against Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney outside the Romney headquarters, on Oct. 8, 2012 in Derry, N.H.

Updated at 1:38 pm EDT 

The folks who bring us Big Bird, Elmo and friends aren’t happy about the big yellow bird appearing in President Barack Obama’s campaign ad.

“Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns,” the workshop says in a statement billed as “News from the Neighborhood” at its Web site. “We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down.”

The Obama campaign said today it plans to air its ad poking fun at Republican Mitt Romney’s pledge to cut PBS funding in a cable run of comedy shows.

 Big Bird makes a quick cameo appearance in the ad.

The campaign ad opens with Bernie Madoff and Ken Lay, “criminals… gluttons of greed.” And who is the “evil genius towering over them?” the ad asks. “One man has the guts to say so:” Romney, repeating the name Big Bird, Big Bird. Then comes the Sesame Street icon: “Big, yellow, a menace to our economy.”

Romney knows — the cartoonish ad says — “it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about. It’s Sesame Street.”

The Romney campaign slammed the ad as trivial and accused Obama of missing the big economic picture.

“I just find it troubling that the president’s message, the president’s focus 28 days from Election Day is Big Bird,” Romney campaign spokesman Kevin Madden told reporters aboard Romney’s campaign plane this morning. “The governor is going to focus acutely on jobs and the economy and what we can do to create a better more prosperous future.”

Romney opened a rally in Van Meter, Iowa, today  talking about the economic struggles facing many Americans, before pivoting to an attack on the new Obama campaign ad.

“These are tough times with real serious issues,” Romney told supporters, “so you have to scratch your head when the president spends the last week talking about Big Bird.”

Julianna Goldman and Lisa Lerer contributed to this report. 


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