Oct. 4 - Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's comments on Big Bird get reactions from the public, President Barack Obama, and from Big Bird, himself. Lindsay Claiborn reports.
Forget about financial reform, Obamacare and job creation. The biggest newsmaker in Wednesday's (October 03) U.S. presidential debate may have been Big Bird, the lovable "Sesame Street" character whose public TV funding Republican candidate Mitt Romney vowed to end. Romney told debate moderator Jim Lehrer, whose "PBS News Hour" program is also subsidized by the Public Broadcasting Service, that if elected to the White House he would end federal PBS funding - long a goal for some U.S. conservatives. SOUNDBITE: Republican Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, saying (English): "I'm sorry Jim. I'm gonna stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm gonna stop other things. I like PBS. I like Big Bird. I actually like you too. But I'm not going to keep spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for." Romney's vow of tough love for the 8-foot-2 feathery yellow character drew ridicule from Obama on Thursday (October 04). SOUNDBITE: U.S. President Barack Obama, saying (English): "I mean, thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird. It's about time. We didn't know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit." Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind the long-running children's educational show "Sesame Street," tweeted, "We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. We do not comment on campaigns, but we're happy we can all agree that everyone likes Big Bird!" The internet was also flooded with parody videos, one of which showed Romney blowing up Big Bird, Lehrer, and other Muppet characters. Sesame Street has been broadcast for more than 40 years. Makers of the show claim that 4 out of 5 American children watch the program.