Exciting new Obama talking point: There's only one candidate in this race who'll fight for Big Bird and Elmo

As prominent Democrat Dick Harpootlian put it, “Big Bird is iconic. He — or it — she — I don’t know what it is — is an icon with a whole generation or two of Americans.” Well said. If Mitt Romney won’t stand up for giant muppets, who will he stand up for?

If we’re destined for heartbreak on election night, my friends, let these words be our solace:

A lawyer for Sesame Workshop has requested that the campaign take down the spot, which was slated to run on national cable outlets.

“We have received that request,” [Obama spokesman Jen] Psaki told reporters on Tuesday. “We’re reviewing it. I will say it doesn’t change the fact that there’s only one candidate in this race who is going to continue to fight for Big Bird and Elmo, and he is riding on this plane” — a reference to Obama.

There is, in fact, a point to this post besides pointing and laughing at Team Hopenchange’s embarrassing juvenilia. Part of the spin from lefty critics of the Big Bird ad is that it’s out of character for the campaign. That’s not really true, though, as I tried to explain yesterday. There’s nothing unusual about Team O trying to jumpstart a national change of subject by focusing on a triviality. What’s unusual about the ad is that they’re resorting to triviality in the wake of a sharp change in momentum against them. Sean Trende captured the vibe in a piece that appeared just a few hours before the ad dropped: “Something like the ‘cancer ad’ from August looks hard-hitting from a campaign that is leading (and I certainly include candidate super PACs as part of the ‘campaign’), but would probably be described as ‘desperate’ from one that is losing.” Indeed. More from Tim Carney:

Distraction has been Obama’s re-election strategy all along. Highlighting Romney gaffes, peddling empty symbols, running on picayune policies — in this way, Obama hoped he could run out the clock until November 6…

The “kill Big Bird” line is standard Obama fare. Because Romney thinks employers should be allowed to pay employees in cash instead of contraception, Obama and allies accuse him of trying to take away women’s contraception. Because Romney wants to cut Planned Parenthood’s federal subsidies, Obama says Romney is waging war against the abortion provider.

So it’s not new that Obama is being unserious. He’s been running a Big Bird campaign all along. It’s just new that everyone is noticing.

Yep. Without that debate thrashing and the growing scandal over Benghazi, we’d be knee deep this week in cable news segments about whether Obama doesn’t have a point in suggesting that Mitt Romney kinda sorta hates children’s TV (and of course, children). As it is, even the media feels ridiculous pushing that talking point right now. In Noah Rothman’s phrase, they’ve stopped filling in the blanks for Obama — for the moment. Watch this fluff piece from MSNBC this morning (via Mediaite) to see what I mean. In an alternate universe, where Obama won the debate and there’s nothing happening in Libya, this wouldn’t be an interview about a Sesame Street special. It’d be an interview about whether the mean man from Massachusetts bwoke Elmo’s widdle heart by suggesting that maybe he and PBS don’t need taxpayer subsidies unto eternity.

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Jazz Shaw 5:31 PM on February 04, 2023