Of course one of the most memorable lines to come out of the Presidential debate was Mitt Romney’s assertion that one of the ways (in fact the only one he has actually articulated) in which he would offset the costs of his proposed 20% across the board tax cut was to quit subsidizing Public Broadcasting. It didn’t hurt that PBS’ Jim Lehrer was the moderator. Romney said to Lehrer:
“I’m sorry Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS, I actually love Big Bird. I like you too, but I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”
Gliding right past the glaring China inaccuracy, The annual budget for Public Broadcasting is one tenth of one percent of the total budget. That’s not likely to make a big dent.
That quote turned out to be the memorable line of the evening and the President made hay with it the next day back on the campaign trail noting that Romney wants to repeal Dodd-Frank and let Wall Street run rampant once again but at the same time he wants to crack down on Sesame Street. The President said it was ‘high time somebody cracked down on Big Bird’.
Predictably, Big Bird has been in the news a great deal as a result. He even made a guest appearance on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update saying he was up way past his bedtime. Protestors in Big Bird regalia began showing up at Romney events just like when dogs on top of the car were following the campaign bus around after the Seamus story broke. The large yellow fellow is expected to be a popular Halloween costume this year as well.
Conservatives have been crowing about how ridiculous it is for the President to keep referring to Big Bird while completely missing the point that the President is making in that it’s absurd that he is having to point out that the only budget offset Romney has offered is Big Bird.
Clearly someone needs to tell Romney how to get to Deficit Street.
- President releases new ad — featuring Big Bird… (thehill.com)
- Sesame Street asks Obama campaign to take down Big Bird ad (thehill.com)
- Mitt to Lehrer: I’ll pull PBS funding (politico.com)