This week the Obama campaign is starting to roll out their newest campaign strategy in their fresh television ad featuring longtime child television icon, Big Bird. The puppet from Sesame Street is part of Obama’s ad referencing his opponent’s campaign calling the bird a “menace to our economy.” The first presidential debate from last week brought us new high and low-lights that media are now recognizing. One of those lowlights is the resurgence of Big Bird. During last week’s debate, Republican candidate Mitt Romney said he’d cut funding from Public Broadcasting Service, including a direct threat to Big Bird. Since then the comment has been turning heads and became a new focal point to his opposition. It’s only natural for the Obama campaign to take advantage of it, no matter where to would lead.We’ve seen campaign strategies use symbols before, and even mention their opponents shortcomings to their advantage. Since the giant bird’s name was evoked, Romney has received some backlash. One of the first reported instances was in the form of a letter sent to his campaign and to the Huffington Post. The letter addressed to Governor Romney was allegedly written by an 8-year-old girl, upset that the candidate mentioned that he’d cut funding to Big Bird. In an elementary style rant, the child wrote, “You find something else to cut off!” Likely the highlight of the debate the next day, the letter was the main topic of discussion from the whole debate. President Obama has gone to campaign events joking about how Romney wants to crackdown on Sesame Street, getting a rise out of crowds, but sneers from the other side.
The ad, which is now running on cable stations around the country, is being frowned upon by PBS who has already asked the campaign to remove Big Bird. The ad that mocks Romney for his memorable line is the latest event in this general election season where we’ve seen the race almost at a dead heat. Mitt Romney, who is widely accepted to have won the debate, despite threatening Big Bird, is finding new life and gaining ground against President Obama. The Obama campaign is using this one so-called misstep as a way to save face, but it’s turning this race to the range of outrageousness.
Not for nothin’ but if Big Bird is becoming an issue in the election, then outrageous would mean flat-out desperate. In the last presidential election cycle we had John McCain using all sorts of desperation moves to help his campaign come out on top. In 2008 we saw other symbols like Joe the Plumber, comparing Obama to celebrities, Tito the Builder and of course the all-time Hail Mary of his vice presidential pick. There are new polls that are showing Romney with a post-debate lead, but did that first debate cause that much of a difference? And will Big Bird be enough for the Obama campaign to hold over until the next debate. But if Obama has another performance like he had last week, he’ll need more than just Big Bird to help. Maybe Mighty Mouse will be able to save the day?
To view the Obama for America TV Ad featuring Big Bird, click here.