Senator John McCain criticized President Barack Obama’s campaign on Tuesday for a “paucity of ideas” following the release of a new ad that mocks Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his call to end federal funding to the Public Broadcasting System.
The ad sarcastically likens “Sesame Street” icon Big Bird to criminal corporate financiers such as Bernie Madoff and Enron’s Ken Lay. PBS airs “Sesame Street.”
“Big, yellow, a menace to our economy. Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about it, it’s Sesame Street,” adds the narrator.
The ad ends with a cute shot of Big Bird in his nest, with his teddy bear, sleeping: “Mitt Romney, taking on our enemies no matter where they nest.”
McCain was on the “Today Show” when he said the ploy smelled of desperation and was further proof that the Obama campaign is unable to defend the administration’s policies over the last four years.
Even host Matt Lauer admitted he was confused by ad’s message.
McCain said that Romney should expect Obama to step up his game in the next debate, saying the president is generally a good debater. However, he did criticize the Obama campaign for accusing Romney of lying during the debate.
The tongue-and-cheek ad is the Obama campaign’s second front in in the war to rescue his dispirited debate performance from posterity’s condemnation. The initial response from the Obama campaign was that Romney was being less than forthright about what he believed and what his policies would accomplish.
The ad, however, hasn’t exactly gone over that well. The Romney campaign has blasted it as an example of small-mindedness, while Sesame Street executives have already requested that the commercial come down.
NBC’s Peter Alexander called it an example of the “absurd back and forth in this election season.”
PBS receives a portion of its funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which receives an annual appropriation from Congress. In 2012, CPB received $445 million in federal funding. PBS accounts for about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget.