2012 Tuesday: When Barry met Big Bird

Barack Obama leapt to Big Bird’s defense. Big Bird said, no thanks.

If the first debate between Obama and Mitt Romney winds up being a turning point in the election, the episode involving American children’s tallest, yellowest feathered-est friend may prove to be a symbol of what went wrong for the incumbent.

During the Oct. 3 debate, moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS NewsHour asked the candidates for specifics about how they’d tackle the federal debt and deficit. Romney reiterated the test he said he’d use to decide which spending to cut: “Is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?” For examples, he named Obamacare and then said:

I’m sorry, Jim. I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.

Obama did not address this remark during the debate, but within days his campaign released a short video ad mocking Romney’s position on PBS by comparing Big Bird to Bernie Madoff and saying, “Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about, it’s Sesame Street.”

Never mind that Romney, during the same debate, said the banking industry needs regulation and accurately described the Dodd-Frank financial “reform” bill as the cementing of Too Big To Fail in federal law and thus an enormous sop to the biggest banks. Never mind that Obama’s response to the same question about debt and deficits included a mention of “18 government programs for education” that he’d cut (cutting education funds? but it’s for teh kidz!). Or that Sesame Street is such a merchandising powerhouse that it easily could survive on its own (take it from a dad whose kids have Elmo on their pajamas and Cookie Monster on their diapers, in addition to probably a dozen or more toys, stuffed animals and books with the furry characters on them).

Never mind all that. The Obama campaign decided to make an issue, albeit a fairly minor one, out of saving Big Bird.

Which probably wouldn’t have been a big deal if the Sesame Street Workshop hadn’t issued this response:

Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and 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.

As the kids on Twitter would say: Obama campaign #FAIL.

Now, normally anything that keeps the Obama campaign from having to talk about the economy can be seen as a good thing for the incumbent. But getting rejected by Big Bird?

Mockery of mockery aside, this strikes me as a pretty apt summary of why the 70 million people who watched last week’s debate overwhelmingly thought Romney came out as the winner. Here was Romney, on a night when Obama attacked him for not being specific about his plans, making a specific statement about a spending cut he’d make — and one not likely to be popular with his intended audience that night, which very clearly was the small but critical group of undecided moderates in the electorate.

The Obama campaign’s response? Ham-fisted pandering that drew a rebuke from the very cause meant to be championed.

The talk throughout this general-election campaign about likeability has been overplayed because it misses the point. If the electorate wanted the most likeable guy available in the White House, Obama would have been running circles around Romney instead of never, for even a single day, leading the Real Clear Politics average of polls by even 6 percentage points (never by even 5 points since Romney effectively clinched the GOP nomination).

The voters aren’t looking for the guy they’d most like to attend a beer summit with. They’re looking for the guy who can run the country more effectively. Muppet panders, from a candidate who has presided over four consecutive $1,000,000,000,000-plus deficits and the surpassing of the $16,000,000,000,000 mark in federal debt, are not likely to resonate with them.

The race is not over by a long shot, but Obama suddenly has to do more than tread water if he’s going to win.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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481 comments Add your comment

MarkV

October 9th, 2012
5:59 pm

The main issue regarding Romney’s comment about Sesame Street is that Romney, when he had a chance to say something substantial about his plan to cut programs “so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it,” chose two examples of those that, in his opinion, were not in that category: PBS and the Affordable Care Act. Elimination of one (PBS) woud be a saving completely trivial in budget terms. The other example shows that for Romney a program providing health coverage to millions of Americans and improved health coverage to more millions, a program based on the one he is proud of, is just not critical enough.

Linda

October 9th, 2012
5:59 pm

Towncrier@5:49, I agree with your 1st point but not your 2nd. I’ve “debated” both & my dog was much more responsive.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 9th, 2012
6:00 pm

Boy, there must have been some really bad polls out today, because the libs are positively apoplectic on the blog.

Not that they make any logical points or comments anyway, but they’re just so – worried, anxious, nervous, dispirited – you name it.

getalife

October 9th, 2012
6:01 pm

Linda,

Answer the question then genius.

How much will cutting PBS save our government?

Lets see you prove your debating skills Linda.

JamVet

October 9th, 2012
6:02 pm

In other words, if government doesn’t do it, it doesn’t happen. If government doesn’t fund it, it won’t exist.

More correctly, in your words.

So you use several of the the oft used Republicans logical fallacies – begging the question, correlation does not imply causation, false dilemma and the red herring among them.

Looks like your skills are the one that slipped terribly, Kyle…

getalife

October 9th, 2012
6:04 pm

“Not that they make any logical points or comments anyway”

cons are delusional thinking their “points” make any sense.

Cut and run after being challenged is not winning a debate.

That is losing a debate.

@@

October 9th, 2012
6:05 pm

Getalife:

Answer the question.

I’ve already answered the call on more than one occasion.

Go find ‘em.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 9th, 2012
6:06 pm

“The other example shows that for Romney a program providing health coverage to millions of Americans and improved health coverage to more millions, a program based on the one he is proud of, is just not critical enough.”

Project much, MarkV?

First, as was pointed out months ago, the “model” being used for Obamacare is false at it’s core. It will cost a company less money to pay a fine for NOT providing healthcare than it will to provide the actual healthcare – about 3-4 times less, in fact. It will also cost the average family less to pay the “tax” for not having insurance than it would be to pay for the insurance – as much as 5-6 times less.

So Obamacare won’t provide healthcare to more people; it will ultimately provide less. It doesn’t reduce the cost of healthcare and it adds to our deficit.

Why wouldn’t anyone want to get rid of it?

Oh, and he supports the STATE model, not the Federal model. Get your facts straight.

Linda

October 9th, 2012
6:06 pm

Tiberius@6:00, It’s either meningitis or rabies.

getalife

October 9th, 2012
6:06 pm

Jamvet,

Kyle went from the far right with the newt, then moved far left with mitt so he is probably confused.

getalife

October 9th, 2012
6:08 pm

@@,

Dodge.

Just answer the question.

ODD OWL

October 9th, 2012
6:08 pm

Attention all of you non rich Republicans who support the Romney/Rand/Ryan Republicans.. Do you support the Romney/Ryan plan to invest your social security pension money in the stock market ??? Do you support turning your medicare coverage into a voucher system ??? Do you support eliminating medicaid coverage to your Grand Parents and other older relatives who might be in a nursing home or retirement home ??? What will happen to them ??? What will happen to the millions of patients in the nursing homes ??? Will there be any help from any Governmental agency or will their Children or Relatives be forced to care for them or will they simply be on their own ??? Who’s going to pay down the debt, rich people or middle class people ??? What about V.P. Al Gore’s “lock Box” social security investment plan from 2000 ??? You get regular S.S. money plus extra money (gravy) from the general treasury invested in the stock market in your name ??? I support the lock box plan 100% … Just saying… These questions are very important to you youngsters under the age of 55… When you guys hit double nickels, thats when the stuff will hit the fan…

getalife

October 9th, 2012
6:09 pm

“It’s either meningitis or rabies.”

Linda’s debating skills.

Name calling is not debate Linda.

@@

October 9th, 2012
6:10 pm

getalife

October 9th, 2012
6:12 pm

wolf is pinning mitt down on his tax plan.

Says he wants a “progressive tax plan”

Failed to give any details is not a tax plan.

Epic failure.

@@

October 9th, 2012
6:12 pm

Getalife:

Just answer the question.

Unlike you, I’m not in the habit of repeating myself.

Now QUIT BEING LAZY!!!!

ODD OWL

October 9th, 2012
6:14 pm

Attention all under 55 years old, underpaid non rich workers who vote Republican… Do you support the Romney/Rand/Ryan plan to invest your social security pension money into the stock market ???

ODD OWL

October 9th, 2012
6:18 pm

Do middle class Republicans support turning medicare into a voucher system ??? Do middle class Republicans support eliminating medicaid altogether ??? What will happen to the bed ridden elderly and the disabled ???

JamVet

October 9th, 2012
6:19 pm

getalife, ain’t it great?

“Madison Avenue” typically refers to the advertising industry. PBS doesn’t air advertising.

Hello, is this thing on? LOL!

OF COURSE, they don’t, the corporate media does. They can’t have people watching Frontline or Nova – where they CANNOT advertise – when Honey Boo Boo and the Apprentice are on!

PBS represented a significant amount of “competition” to the networks back when it was basically just ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS.

Great. This ain’t 1970 anymore.

Now there are seven hundred for profit channels and one consistently much higher quality non-proft channel on.

Just another loser position for Mr. “I was dead wrong”:

A national survey by the bipartisan research firms of Hart Research and American Viewpoint in 2011 found that over two-thirds of American voters (69%) oppose proposals to eliminate government funding of public broadcasting, with Americans across the political spectrum against such a cut.

PBS cost us in one year what the occupation of Iraq costs in a few hours…

But we can’t afford it, huh fiscal conservatives?

Oh and that big yellow guy that Mitt says he likes? He is more popular than Mr Foot-in-mouth himself and the Uppity muslim:

Fifty one percent of likely voters had favorable opinions of Big Bird, making him more popular than either Obama or Romney.

Stay stupid, my friends…

ODD OWL

October 9th, 2012
6:21 pm

What about V.P. Al Gore’s “lock box” plan for social security ??? Money on the side… I support the lock box plan 100 %…

MarkV

October 9th, 2012
6:21 pm

Tiberius @ 6:06 pm: “Oh, and he supports the STATE model, not the Federal model. Get your facts straight.”

You should get your thoughts straight. First, did I not write that Romney supported a Federal model, therefore your point is false. Second, in spite of all the hot air talk from the right about state vs. federal , nobody has ever presented a cogent argument why the type of this program that is successful (according to Romney) in a state would be wrong for the nation.

The charge that “Obamacare won’t provide healthcare to more people; it will ultimately provide less” is false and ridiculous.

mike

October 9th, 2012
6:21 pm

There’s a simple solution to this whole problem. Just eliminate anything in the federal budget that is not military industrial complex spending. Since spending on the military industrial complex consumes all of our non-social security and non-medicare tax revenues will have a balanced budget overnight!

Linda

October 9th, 2012
6:21 pm

Obamacare summed up in one sentence:

“We’re going to be gifted with a healthcare plan we are forced to purchase, and fined if we don’t, which puportedly covers at least 10 million more people, without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a congress that didn’t read it but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a president who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, for which we will be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government which has already bankrupted social security and medicare, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese and financed by a country that’s broke.”

“So, what the blank could possibly go wrong?”

Dr. Barbara Bellar, candidate, Ill. State Senate
■Veteran Major, United States Army Reserve. IMA Unit
■Family Medicine Physician and Addiction Medicine Specialist.
■Adjunct Teaching Faculty, DePaul University,
Medical Malpractice and Health Law.
■Adjunct Graduate Teaching Faculty, Benedictine University,
Political and Ethical Issues in Public Health.
■Masters in Bioethics and Health Policy – Loyola University.
■Licensed Attorney in the State of Illinois.
■Current Graduate Studies in Public Health.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdnY8r7_fLw

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 9th, 2012
6:24 pm

“Do you support the Romney/Ryan plan to invest your social security pension money in the stock market ???”

Please cite the actual policy which will do this as stated in Mitt Romney’s platform.

“Do you support turning your medicare coverage into a voucher system ???”

You DO realize that the voucher system is optional, don’t you? (Why do I bother asking)

“Do you support eliminating medicaid coverage to your Grand Parents and other older relatives who might be in a nursing home or retirement home ???”

Please cite the actual policy which will do this as stated in Mitt Romney’s platform.

Thanks for playing, ODD OWL.

Now go back to the crack pipe.

mike

October 9th, 2012
6:28 pm

“Now go back to the crack pipe.”

I see personal attacks are still alive and well on Kyle’s blog. Calling someone a drug user is perfectly acceptable. No need to worry about any reprisal.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 9th, 2012
6:29 pm

“First, did I not write that Romney supported a Federal model, therefore your point is false. ”

MarkV, you should really keep track of your own words, son: “The other example shows that for Romney a program providing health coverage to millions of Americans and improved health coverage to more millions, a program based on the one he is proud of,”

“Second, in spite of all the hot air talk from the right about state vs. federal , nobody has ever presented a cogent argument why the type of this program that is successful (according to Romney) in a state would be wrong for the nation.”

I suggest you do an actual analysis of the program in question, MarkV, even if it might be too much for you to handle polysyllabic words.

“The charge that “Obamacare won’t provide healthcare to more people; it will ultimately provide less” is false and ridiculous.”

So let it be written. So let it be done. (According to MarkV) Analysis proves otherwise.

MarkV

October 9th, 2012
6:36 pm

“We’re going to be gifted with a healthcare plan we are forced to purchase, and fined if we don’t, which puportedly covers at least 10 million more people, without adding a single new doctor, but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a congress that didn’t read it but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a president who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, for which we will be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government which has already bankrupted social security and medicare, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese and financed by a country that’s broke.”

The above should be shown in classes under the title “How to enter a competition for the most stupid arguments imaginable.”

mike

October 9th, 2012
6:37 pm

I hope you Republicans, Tea Partiers, nut-cases, and way-out freaks enjoy your temporary bounce. I know that you are all dancing around in a circle right now. But, guess what? I won’t make any difference in November. The American public remembers who visited this pain and hardship on them. And, I guarantee you that they won’t forget come November.

JamVet

October 9th, 2012
6:37 pm

Again, this boner is the one that really cracks me up, Kyle:

In other words, if government doesn’t do it, it doesn’t happen. If government doesn’t fund it, it won’t exist.

The truth?

Sure, I’ll be glad to share it with you.

Only about 12 percent of PBS’s funding, funneled through the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, comes from government subsidies.

12%???

The nerve?!

That’s probably higher than Mitt’s effective rate.

LOL…

MarkV

October 9th, 2012
6:48 pm

Tiberius @ 6:29 pm

First of all, I am not your son. If I were, however, I would never admit it, it would be too embarrassing.

“you should really keep track of your own words.”

I am, but you are not. You still have not shown, and cannot, where I wrote anything else than that the Affordable Care Acts was based on a program Romney was proud of.

“I suggest you do an actual analysis of the program in question, MarkV, even if it might be too much for you to handle polysyllabic words.”

Apart from the stupidity about polysyllabic words, so typical for you, Tiberius, where is the analysis you have done?

ODD OWL

October 9th, 2012
6:50 pm

@ tiberius…. The only thing in the world more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance… (Albert Einstein) Obamacare ==> RomneyCare on steroids…

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 9th, 2012
6:53 pm

You know you’ve lost the argument when you’ve lost Kirsten Powers.

She just eviscerated the Obama campaign on Fox News for focusing on Big Bird. Brett Baier also referenced other prominent Democrat strategists on “other networks” as doing the same.

The Obama campaign is in free-fall.

@@

October 9th, 2012
6:57 pm

AmVet:

Oh and that big yellow guy that Mitt says he likes? He is more popular than Mr Foot-in-mouth himself and the Uppity muslim

Your heart’s desire can be found on Sesame Street DVDs.

Big Bird’s probably in all of ‘em.

Don’t cry…he’s here for ‘ya.

schnirt

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 9th, 2012
6:58 pm

“where is the analysis you have done?”

Simple stuff, MarkV, even for you.

Take the amount of the fine an employer is going to pay per person for not providing health care. Then take the per person average contribution to health care each employer makes. Subtract the lower number from the higher number to get your amount that companies will save by dumping health care coverage.

Now, take the “tax” that individuals are going to pay if they do not carry insurance under Obamacare. Subtract that from the total cost of health care per person per year they now pay or will pay. The difference is the amount that family will save by not buying health care.

In EVERY case, the fine/”tax” is smaller than the cost to provide healthcare.

Hillbilly D

October 9th, 2012
6:58 pm

@@

Thanks for the Merle link. Just got through watching it.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 9th, 2012
7:00 pm

“The American public remembers who visited this pain and hardship on them.”

40 years of liberal polices?

I know I remember who visited this pain and hardship.

JamVet

October 9th, 2012
7:01 pm

Hey, great news guys!

The odds for Barry staying at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have slipped!

In fact they have fallen precipitously (kinda like a free fall)

A few days ago the odds were

BHO – 98%
WMR – 2%

Now?

BHO – 94%
WMR – 6%

YIKES!

But never fear, he’s found the secret weapon!

http://www.republicansforobama.org/

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 9th, 2012
7:05 pm

Nice deflection, AmVet. Too bad you can’t actually debate the issue Kyle brought up.

Wait! I know why you’re worried about PBS losing taxpayer handouts. You’re out of a job if Sesame Street goes under, because they’ll no longer need Oscar the Grouch! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 9th, 2012
7:07 pm

Republicans for Obama probably has about 1/100th of the amount of people in their membership rolls as Ralph Nader got votes in Idaho in 2000.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

October 9th, 2012
7:17 pm

You have been President of the US for almost 4 years and are running for reelection, and you spend one week of your campaign discussing an 8 foot yellow bird. What does that say about the Obama record. His major accomplishment “Obamacare” is disliked by the voters, and everyone is tired of hearing about “Osama is dead”, so he has nothing to tell the American people as a reason he should be reelected other than “that Romney is going to do away with Big Bird”. He has tried to “define” Romney as a mean spirited money grubbing out of touch rich guy, but America is not buying it. Romney defined himself and shocked Barry, so now he is left with Big Bird, Elmo, and the Cookie Monster. How could any self respecting person, respect this great Mistake.

md

October 9th, 2012
7:22 pm

“The American public remembers who visited this pain and hardship on them. And, I guarantee you that they won’t forget come November.”

I agree, many are actually starting to understand that it wasn’t all Bush’s fault as they’ve been told and are now able to see that even Bush called for the reform of Fannie and Freddie way back in 2001…….and then they also discover that the party of “no” already existed when they wouldn’t allow it…….fast forward 7 years and F&F are in receivership. But I thought they were perfectly sound??

Beyond The Middle of the Road

October 9th, 2012
7:24 pm

I think this point is a wash Kyle. Sure the Dems created an ad for the occasion, and yes Sesame Workshop emphasized their nonpartisanship and asked for the ad to stop. But it was Romney who started the whole shebang by bringing up the PBS point in the first place. The dollar amount in question is such a relative pittance that he must have thought he would score points with the statement.

ODD OWL

October 9th, 2012
7:25 pm

Ideology are for idiots… Middle class Republicans ==> Committed ideologues… I heard a rumor that the left wing liberal, limousine riding Rockefeller Republican Mittens Romney will expand all the social programs.. Is that true ??? The rumor is that Romney will eliminate the tax on S.S. pensions and the medicare tax… I sure hope so…

md

October 9th, 2012
7:27 pm

“Obamacare ==> RomneyCare on steroids…”

I sure wish people would learn the difference between a State program and a Federal one…….at least if folks don’t like the one in the State they can pack their bags for a more ideological resting place……not quite so easy with the new entitlement program crammed down our throats.

ODD OWL

October 9th, 2012
7:28 pm

Romney/Ryan are disingenuous and intellectually dishonest… They have no integrity and lacks character… Romney/Ryan ==> Shysters in shiny suits…

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

October 9th, 2012
7:28 pm

Gloom, despair and agony on me
deep dark depression, excessive misery
if I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all
but Big Bird is gonna save the day for me!

md

October 9th, 2012
7:30 pm

“The dollar amount in question is such a relative pittance that he must have thought he would score points with the statement.”

The dollar amount was irrelevant……the comment pointed out a fundamental difference between the 2 candidates…….one unwilling to pay for unnecessary programs when we are bleeding 1.5T a year with 16T in debt and the other defending such spending………….

Linda

October 9th, 2012
7:32 pm

Odd@6:08, etc. I feel very sorry for you, both for your being misinformed about Romney, but mostly for your inability to see the big picture.
The fed. govt. is broke. All the programs you mentioned are in jeopardy. Obama has done NOTHING to address one problem. His budget was voted down in House 414 to 0 & in the Senate 99 to 0. It included raising all the taxes in his dreams & speeches, on everything & everyone, & would have taken us into oblivion. There is no hope & no change.
Our routine for years was coming home from work & watching the local & natl. news. We are mad as #%$ that we were deceived. You are, too. If you are not seeing what is happening in Europe right now, you are in the dark. It’s the future of America because we are doing the same things they did. Some of the Democratic states are in worse shape than the fed. govt.
There is no way that a flashy career politician can get us out of this trouble. Only a professional businessman like Romney can do it. This is his specialty: taking over companies that are in such bad shape that no bank will loan them a dime & turning about 80% of them into successful companies. He did the same thing to the state of Mass. & for the Olympics. He is allergic to red ink. We are lucky he is willing to take on such a massive job.

Linda

October 9th, 2012
7:36 pm

MarkV@6:36, I listed her credentials. Only a stupid liberal would call her stupid.

JamVet

October 9th, 2012
7:40 pm

…the comment pointed out a fundamental difference between the 2 candidates……. one taking time on the national stage to single out a program that accounts for 1/100th of a percent (!!!!!!) of the federal budget instead of addressing the remaining 99.99%.

Disgraceful pandering by the severely conservative/moderate (Which is it this week?) to the anti-intellectual, Uncle Sam hating, corproate stooge wing of the GOP.

Oh yeah. but I forgot. The dollar amount is irrelevant!

LOL!