Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, is requesting that the Obama campaign take down a new ad portraying Mitt Romney as more concerned with Big Bird than Wall Street criminals.
“Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns,” the group said. “We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down.”
Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters today that they’re reviewing Sesame Workshop’s request to pull the ad.
“It doesn’t change the fact that there’s only one candidate in this race who is going to continue to fight for Big Bird and Elmo and he’s riding on this plane,” Psaki told reporters on Air Force One, en route to an Obama campaign event in Ohio.
“There’s been a strong grassroots outcry over the attacks on Big Bird,” Psaki added.
“This is something that mothers across the country are alarmed about. And we’re tapping into that.”
The ad grew out of a comment by Romney in the presidential debate in which the Republican presidential candidate said that while he likes Big Bird, he wants to cut off the small government subsidy for public broadcasting.
It begins with a narrator invoking convicted “gluttons of greed” such as Bernie Madoff and Kenneth Lay before cheekily saying only “one man has the guts” to speak the name of “evil genius who towered over” them: Big Bird. The ad continues with clips of Romney saying “Big Bird,” followed by a clip of Big Bird saying, “It’s me, Big Bird.”
“Big, yellow, a menace to our economy,” the ad jokingly continues. “Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about, it’s Sesame Street.”
“Mitt Romney, taking on our enemies no matter where they nest.”
The ad follows the criticism unveiled by President Obama the day after last Wednesday’s debate, during which Romney said that while “I love Big Bird”, he would cut funding to PBS.
On Thursday, Mr. Obama told a crowd in Denver, “Thank God someone is getting tough on Big Bird. ... We didn’t know Big Bird was driving the deficit.”
Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg responded to the ad, telling CBS News in an email: “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.”
The Obama campaign tells CBS News that the ad, which you can watch below, will run on national cable - not specifically in any battleground states - and would not indicate how much they’re spending on the ad buy.