Chiding Mitt Romney for saying during the Presidential Debate that he'd do away with Big Bird and PBS funding, a spokesman for President Obama's Campaign said on Friday that Elmo is next on the GOP challenger's hit list. President Obama ran with the theme during both his rallies today, at George Mason University in Vienna, VA, and Cleveland State University in Ohio. First Lady Michelle Obama visited Sesame Street to garden with the Muppets in 2009, something the President didn't mention. And Elmo has starred in a White House video; both promoted the Let's Move! campaign. (Above: The President at George Mason)
"For all you moms and kids out there, don’t worry, somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird," President Obama told the Cleveland crowd of about 9,000.
"Elmo, you better make a run for it. Governor Romney is going to let Wall Street run wild again, but he’s going to bring the hammer down on Sesame Street."
After his audience booed, President Obama asked "You want me to save Big Bird?"
"Save Big Bird! Save Big Bird! Save Big Bird!" the crowd chanted.
Romney's comments about Big Bird immediately became an internet meme, and Obama Campaign spokesman Jen Psaki explained the President's Save-the-Muppets speech during today's press gaggle.
"Mitt Romney made a big to-do about how he was going to make tough choices about what we can do to bring down our deficit, and the example he gave was going after Sesame Street and Big Bird," said Psaki.
"It kind of highlights the absurdity of his--the seriousness of his plans. And who’s next? Maybe Elmo."
Later, Pskai issued a warning on Twitter: "Elmo next on Romney chopping block?" she wrote on @JrPsaki.
"Romney first introduced the Big Bird line in December in Iowa," today's pooler on duty, Politico's Reid Epstein, noted on Twitter. "What took Democrats so long to make a thing out of it."
Maybe the Dems were collectively suffering from altitude sickness.
Elmo starred in a White House video with Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass in 2010, to promote the healthier school lunch guidelines that went into effect this Fall.
Mrs. Obama and the Muppets garden together:
Elmo and Kass in the White House kitchen: