Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney professed his love of the giant yellow guy during last night's debate, after saying he'd cut federal funding from PBS as part of his plan to tackle the deficit. Today, President Obama joked at a Denver rally that "Thank goodness someone is finally getting tough on Big Bird."
This isn't the first time Big Bird has been pulled into the political fray. Why, it was just last month when Reps. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif, and Ed Markey, D-Mass., at an event decrying automatic cuts to the National Institutes of Health, disagreed over whether to cook Big Bird's goose (Can a bird have a goose? Anyway....).
If the sequester actually happens, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports PBS, would face an 8.2 percent cut to its federally budgeted $445 million. That means about $36 million in cuts, according to the latest White House Office of Management and Budget report. And while Sesame Street receives much of its money from corporate sponsors rather than from PBS, the show "is dependent on PBS to distribute our commercial-free educational programming to all children in the United States," reads a Sesame Workshop statement released today:
At a time when improvements in school readiness are recognized as being much needed for a significant number of America's preschoolers, PBS's ability to connect Big Bird and Friends to these children is essential. We highly value that connection. Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization. We do not comment on political campaigns, but we're happy we can all agree that everyone likes Big Bird.So, how does Big Bird feel about all this talk? He tweeted via the @sesamestreet account: "My bed time is usually 7:45, but I was really tired yesterday and fell asleep at 7! Did I miss anything last night?"