By Peter Nicholas
Big Bird, it seems, isn’t thrilled about his cameo in the presidential race.
The folks at Sesame Street are asking the Obama campaign to pull down a TV ad released Tuesday that mocks Mitt Romney for vowing to yank the subsidy to PBS.
At the presidential debate in Denver last week, Mr. Romney said he would end the subsidy in view of the nation’s fiscal troubles.
Up went an ad by team Obama called “Big Bird’’ that suggests Mr. Romney is targeting children’s programming rather than legitimate threats to people’s economic interests.
The ad shows images of Bernie Madoff and others implicated in various financial and corporate scandals. A narrator then intones: “And the evil genius who towered over them?”
A silhouette of Big Bird flashes on screen.
“Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about, it’s Sesame Street,” the narrator said.
The ad is airing on national cable and broadcast TV, in time slots devoted to comedy shows, the Obama campaign said.
Sesame Street isn’t amused. Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit educational organization that produces and owns the show, issued a statement Tuesday saying “we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down.”
An Obama campaign spokesman, Ben LaBolt, said the campaign is “reviewing their concerns.”
A blog post on the Sesame Workshop website said that “Sesame Street would not exist were it not for PBS and its local stations, which is the distribution system for Big Bird and friends to reach all children across the United States, particularly the low income children who need us most.”
In response to the ad, the Romney campaign released a statement saying, “The choice in this election is becoming more clear each day. Four years ago, President Obama said that if you don’t have a record to run on, ‘you make a big election about small things.’ With 23 million people struggling for work, incomes falling and gas prices soaring, Americans deserve more from their president.”