Mitt Romney and the “Big Bird”
Who knew that a classic kids show would make such an impact in a debate? Let alone the fact that the debate was between two men campaigning to be our country’s leader?
The beloved big bird character was mentioned during the Denver presidential debate on Wednesday night. The two candidates, Mitt Romney (Republican) and Barack Obama (Democrat), were in a verbal dispute over a discussion on the deficit, when Big Bird came into the topic.
“The Republican candidate pledged to cut funding to PBS, the station that airs the puppet bird’s educational show “Sesame Street,” during Wednesday’s debate with President Obama. PBS also happens to be the longtime network of Jim Lehrer, the debate moderator.” (NY Post)
The reason for the PBS funding cut? The former governor expressed his goal to cut funding for a variety of items that he determined were “non-essential” items, including PBS. PBS is the same network that hired Jim Lehrer to be the debate moderator for that evening.
“I’m sorry, Jim, I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS…. I like PBS, I love Big Bird — I actually like, you too — but I am not going to keep spending money on things [we have] to borrow money from China to pay for,” Mitt Romney had stated.
The Republican’s candidate spurred thousands of people into online discussions, posts, and debates. The amount of posts being sent by Twitter users numbered over 17,000 tweets per minute, all of them mentioning Big Bird. One user even created a Fired Big Bird Twitter account that had almost 25,000 followers. However, the account is now suspended.
Some of the tweets include:
“Big Bird, Elmo, Ernie, & Bert you’re fired. _ Mitt Romney.” (@lexdimons)
“Big Bird: My bed time is usually 7:45, but I was really tired yesterday and fell asleep at 7! Did I miss anything last night?” (@sesamestreet)
‘”I bet this Big Bird joke is gonna kill’ -Romney’s soon-to-be fired speech writer.” (@BobbyRayBunch)
Twitter had announced to the public that the debate topic was the most tweeted event in the U.S.’s entire political history and it was the fourth most tweeted telecast. The debate tweets came behind the MTV Video Music Awards, the recent Grammy awards, and the Super Bowl. The amount of tweets posted came to a total of 11.1 million comments. Of those 11.1 million people, 55 percent of the tweeters were women and 45 percent were men.
In addition to the twitter and facebook frenzy, thousands of others expressed themselves over the mention of the Big Bird.
“Popular doctored photos posted on the social networking site show a sullen Big Bird sitting on a stoop, holding a cardboard sign that reads “will work for food.” Other photos see the “Sesame Street” gang carrying weapons and Big Bird joining “Occupy Sesame Street,” conceivably to teach children the difference between the numbers 99 and 1.” (NY Post)
Only time will tell to see how far this Big Bird will go in the debate history.
Photos courtesy of Adam Bicksler via Facebook and CNN Shawty and BugattiBeez via Twitter.