Romney's shout-out against taxpayer-supported broadcasting, a bete noir of the right for years, came during last week’s debate. “I like PBS. I love Big Bird,” he said, “but I’m not going to keep on spending money on things, and borrow money from China to pay for it.”
Obama didn’t rise to that provocation on that night, but he and the Democrats have been hitting Romney’s proposed “Sesame Street” cut ever since. The president has accused Romney of “going after Sesame Street” while taking it easy on Wall Street, where the Republican has proposed easing the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
Obama may be right on the substance — public broadcasting, after all, takes just $430 million out of a $3.8-trillion federal budget. An Obama ad this week mocks that incongruence, saying Romney is willing to take on an “evil genius,” while the silhouette of Big Bird looms on screen. “Mitt Romney. Taking on our enemies, no matter where they nest.”
There’s no evidence that Obama’s campaign intends the ad to be anything more than a short-term goof on the opposition. And that’s probably a smart thing. Because voters, in the long run, won’t remember who started the silly Big Bird debate.