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), GUND, Hasbro (Sesame Street Monopoly), Wooly Willy, Betty 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 Toys, Milton Bradley Company, Nintendo, Palisades Toys,Questor, Radio Shack, Tyco, and the Western Publishing Company. Creative 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. 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 Loblaws, Fortinos, and Zehrs.
Barrio Sésamo, Plaza Sésamo, Sesamstraße, Sesame English and Sesamstraat have all had merchandise of their local characters. Shalom Sesame videos and books have also been released.
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:
“nothing says “I’ve completely lost control of this narrative” like embracing…a seven-foot-tall yellow-feathered multi-millionaire.”
— Jeff Emanuel (@jeffemanuel) October 9, 2012