This campaign reset has been brought to you by the letters U-N-S-E-R-I-O-U-S and the number 46%:
In 2008, singer will.i.am provided Barack Obama’s presidential campaign with music for its signature anthem, “Yes We Can.” On Tuesday, at a rally for Obama in Columbus, Ohio, the performer chose to play something new: the theme song for “Sesame Street.”
For Obama’s supporters, already dismayed by the president’s halting performance in last week’s debate with Republican Mitt Romney, that change in tune is a new source for concern as they fret that a children’s TV show has become a new backdrop for their candidate’s campaign.
In a moment of tightening polls and climbing anxiety for Obama’s supporters, the president’s decision to grant Big Bird a starring role in his campaign this week has presented another reason to reach for the Alka-Seltzer. …
Liberals point out that it was Romney who started the Big Bird mess. Still, the tactic may have led to a kind of role reversal for Obama and Romney. Throughout the summer, the Republican was criticized for lurching from one news cycle to the next, introducing attack lines that seemed to detract from his central message that Obama had stunted economic growth.
Now Obama, some Democrats fear, is seeking to revive his campaign with too light a jolt. …
“I’m not sure I understand why he is doing it,” said Bill Galston, a former Bill Clinton adviser.
It got worse for the Democrats on Tuesday when the makers of Sesame Street asked them to pull the ad because they did not want Big Bird associated with politics.
Over at the Daily Beast, No Labels activist Mark McKinnon can hardly believe what he’s seeing. He argues in a feature piece today that Obama has ceded seriousness to the Romney campaign at the worst possible moment:
Al Qaeda is rebuilding in Iraq. An American ambassador is dead. And Iran may be just months away from amassing enough weapons-grade uranium to wipe Israel off the map.
Here at home, 23 million Americans are still looking for work. The national debt is motre than $16 trillion. And while China is the largest foreign owner of our debt, around $5 trillion is owed to the nearly insolvent Social Security Trust Fund and to the federal pension system—the other Snuffleupagus in the room.
Yet, President Obama is worried about feathering Big Bird’s nest.
Mitt Romney posed a serious question. Should we continue to fund PBS for our children if it means borrowing more money from China, or if it means robbing our children of their future through massive debt?
It’s time for the eight-foot-two, able-bodied bird to grow up. Independence, responsibility, and self-reliance are important skills to learn in childhood, right alongside your ABCs and 123s.
McKinnon points out that cutting $444 million (he has “billion,” clearly a 21st-century error) from the PBS budget is hardly going to “kill” Big Bird or the federal deficit. It is, however, an eight-foot-tall canary in the coal mine about the seriousness of how each candidate addresses trillion-dollar deficits:
Romney posed a serious question. President Obama provided a silly answer. And Team Obama’s Sesame Street spot is going to backfire.
The debate is not about Big Bird. Or PBS. It’s about making hard choices. America gets that. And America is looking for a serious leader who is willing to make tough choices.
Indeed. And if this is an example of how well Obama’s new campaign theme is working with the No Labels crowd, perhaps people like Robert Gibbs should be giving Team Obama some better advice.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that “Big Bird” — actually Sesame Workshop — is worth more than Mitt Romney, thanks to its myriad merchandising deals and other commercial promotions. Michael Ramirez questions whether, with that information in mind, Big Bird might not be rethinking his own vote:
Even Big Bird isn’t naive enough to think that PBS subsidies should be the central issue in this campaign. That message is brought to you by the number $5 trillion and the letters A-C-A.
Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history. Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here. And don’t forget to check out the entire Investors.com site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.
Addendum: Plus, here’s a puzzler from BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski — why did the Obama campaign use a picture of a Bosnian hotel in their Big Bird ad?