Video: The incredible shrinking President; Update: Sesame Workshop sends cease-and-desist request to Team Obama

posted at 8:41 am on October 9, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

More than a dozen American diplomatic missions have been put to the torch over the last month, one of which resulted in the first US Ambassador killed in the line of duty in 33 years.  The labor force is near its lowest level in more than 30 years. Gas prices have skyrocketed, and we’re at war in Afghanistan.  We are exactly four weeks from the national election.  Today, however, Barack Obama will release a new 30-second spot focusing on the true issue that faces our nation …. Big Bird?

Even Politico can see the contrasts between Obama and Mitt Romney, and which of the two is the presidential candidate.  Maggie Haberman provides some perspective, and demonstrates that Team Obama has lost theirs:

As Alex noted yesterday when the Pew poll numbers came out, we’ve long warned – and been warned – about big swings in surveys in what has been a fairly stable race. But the sampling of surveys out there do suggest a real Romney bounce.

And the president, as others have noted, and his team have been going fairly small at a moment when Romney is consistent in a message and pivoting toward going bigger (the foreign policy speech, more emotion on the trail, and so forth).

I get that Team Obama wants to salvage something from a terrible debate performance, but they’re making the situation even worse.  Obama didn’t engage Wednesday night on any meaningful topic.  Now he’s focusing all of his attention on Sesame Street and its potential loss of funding — when the show itself earns plenty of cash from its vast merchandising operations.  Here’s the Wikipedia description of that empire, which hardly makes Big Bird and the Cookie Monster look like paupers:

Current licensees include Procter & Gamble (Pampers diapers), Fisher-Price, Nakajima USA, Build-A-Bear Workshop (Build-An-Elmo, Build-A-Cookie Monster, And Build-A-Big Bird), GUNDHasbro (Sesame Street Monopoly), Wooly WillyBetty Crocker (Elmo Fruit Snacks), C&D Visionary (air freshners) and Children’s Apparel Network. Former licences include Applause, Child Dimension, Gibson Greetings, Gorham Fine China, Ideal ToysMilton Bradley CompanyNintendoPalisades Toys,QuestorRadio ShackTyco, and the Western Publishing CompanyCreative Wonders (a partnership between ABC and Electronic Arts) produced Sesame Street software for the Macintosh, since at least 1995 and on the PC since 1996; Atari produced Sesame Street games in 1983. Before going bankrupt, Palisades Toys was to release a line of deluxe series action figures, for adults, as part of Sesame Workshop’s push to expand into retro products for teens and adults. Only a Super Groverfigure was distributed to conventioneers.

The Sesame Beginnings line, launched in mid-2005, consists of apparel, health and body, home, and seasonal products.[9] The products in this line are designed to accentuate the natural interactivity between infants and their parents. Most of the line is exclusive to a family of Canadian retailers that includes LoblawsFortinos, and Zehrs.

As a non-profit organization, a percentage of the money from any Sesame Workshop product goes to help fund Sesame Street or its international co-productions.[10]

Barrio SésamoPlaza SésamoSesamstraßeSesame English and Sesamstraat have all had merchandise of their local characters. Shalom Sesame videos and books have also been released.

In 2004, Copyright Promotions Licensing Group (CPLG) became Sesame Workshop’s licensing representative for The Benelux,[11] adding to their United Kingdom representation.[12]

Sesame Street hardly needs taxpayer subsidies, which was actually Romney’s point.  Team Obama’s desperate seizing of this issue rather than all of the other problems of the nation and the world makes Obama look small and out of touch, at the precise moment when his opponent is engaging on the larger topics that voters expect from presidential candidates.  It’s quite telling that, with just four weeks to go, all Team Obama can talk about is a children’s TV show.

Update: Sesame Workshop may be doing Obama a big favor here:

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.

This is a perfect opportunity to push this one into the memory hole … but really, how sad is it that Team Obama thought this spoke to voter concerns?  And as long as we’re listing the Devils of Wall Street, it’s interesting to note who’s missing from that list.

And here’s one more thought from Jeff Emanuel:

Ouch.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

This is a good name for him, because the hairline and since he’s such a good numbers guy. So be it, Paul Ryan is now “The Count”.

SailorMark on October 9, 2012 at 1:28 PM

One Vierd Question…Two Vierd Questions…

dont taze me bro on October 9, 2012 at 1:33 PM

…and to think, I’ve been giving the Bird to Barry all this time…

M240H on October 9, 2012 at 1:34 PM

This episode of Sesame Street is brought to you by the number 47, the votes President Obama will get this year, and the letters M and R, for Mitt Romney, the next President of the United States.

Steve Z on October 9, 2012 at 1:35 PM

“BIG BIRD” heh

dont taze me bro on October 9, 2012 at 1:36 PM

The only thing I can say about Obama is that I guess he laid a big egg. I just hope it doesn’t ruffle his feathers to much. He needs to claw his way back to the top and and let every one know who rules the roost.

bandutski on October 9, 2012 at 2:03 PM

Private Pyle, you have got to be sh**ting me!

JohnGalt23 on October 9, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Heh heh

Schadenfreude on October 9, 2012 at 2:12 PM

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.

Then why the appearance on SNL?

maverick muse on October 9, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Then why the appearance on SNL?

maverick muse on October 9, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Logic is for the birds.

Schadenfreude on October 9, 2012 at 2:29 PM

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.

Then why the appearance on SNL?

maverick muse on October 9, 2012 at 2:22 PM

I’m sure SNL would have liked to have had Big Bird say some overtly political comments against Mitt during the Weekend Update segment this week, but Sesame Workshop was careful about what they would let the character say and wouldn’t allow it.

J.S.K. on October 9, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Yeah they know the Occupy crowd is not the ones forking over the dough for their merchandise. It is more likely to be mommy and granny in the Tea Party. They may agree politically with the left, but the bottom line is the bottom line.

txmomof6 on October 9, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Isn’t then Big Bird part of the 1%? I say… Occupy Sesame Street!

The_Brewer on October 9, 2012 at 3:59 PM

I was in college when Sesame Street first hit the airwaves, and a lot of us actually watched it, because we enjoyed its innovations.

Over the years, however, I (and others) have realized that Sesame Street shortened kids’ attention spans with its quick cuts from one scene to another. Look at how short scenes are on TV shows and in commercials, as well as in movies, and you’ll see the Sesame Street legacy.

“That’s boring” “That’s taking too long” — not a good legacy.

KyMouse on October 9, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3 4