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In an excellent article yesterday afternoon, Ezra Klein posted to his Wonkblog at The Washington Post, his musings about what the Obama Team liked in Wednesday nights debate. You should read the entire article, but for this diary I just want to point out one particular observation referring to the Obama campaign ad released yesterday.


Conversely, Romney’s Web site doesn’t have any new ads up using debate clips, which confirms my sense that while Obama didn’t acquit himself particularly well, he didn’t say anything the Romney campaign sees much upside in jumping on.

What Team Obama liked in last night’s debate

In addition to the ad that is being broadcast in swing states, the Obama Truth-Team released yesterday a web only fact check ad that reviewed Romney's overall debate performance.

Today the Obama Truth-Team is still hard at work and getting more specific using actual debate footage to call Mitt Romney out on his lies. The theme of these ads continues to be: If we can't trust him on the debate stage ... how could we trust him in the Oval Office? The Obama Truth-Team released two ads today, both of which are available below the fleur-de-orange with transcripts for those who can not watch videos online.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign has released several ads since the debate. And guess what? Ezra Klein is right. They aren't using any footage from the debate. They've used clips from speeches by President Obama in the most recent ad posted today, but absolutely no debate footage at all.

The debate is over, and while many proclaimed on Wednesday night, and are still declaring, that Romney won the debate on the optics, I have to wonder what Romney won. As I observed in a final diary before turning in Wednesday night (well, actually Thursday morning) introducing the first video published by Team Obama after the debate of Vice President Biden, it was all the lies that Romney told and Big Bird that would be the focus of the post debate discussions. And guess what everybody is talking about? Romney's lies and Big Bird.

Big Bird won the debate

There have already been numerous diaries posted about Big Bird and I hope people will continue to post them because I just think it's great. In reading through the headlines earlier, I came across a few opinion pieces that you might want to explore further.

An editorial at The Baltimore Sun expresses what I concluded, post-debate discussions are focused on Big Bird and Romney's lies.

Two of the more memorable observations to come out of Mitt Romney during the first presidential debate had to do with fibs and Big Bird. The candidate said that as the father of sons, he knows that repeating a lie doesn't make it true. As to the latter? Look out, "Sesame Street," your days as a "victim" on the federal dole are numbered.


We'll say this about Mr. Romney's performance last week. He was forceful, confident, energized and well-prepared for the debate. Small wonder that most observers declared him the "winner." But what he was selling is pure fantasy, and he needs to be taken to task for it.

The nation is facing serious economic challenges, and it requires a serious debate over how best to spur growth but also reduce the deficit in the long term. What Mr. Romney has offered so far is little more than tax policy flimflam — well-packaged and convincingly presented, perhaps, but no more real than a giant, yellow talking bird.

Lies, damn lies, and Big Bird

At Time Magazine, James Poniewozik explains that Romney has been using Big Bird in his stump speeches for months, and questions whether or not it is a good strategy. It certainly is one case where Romney is honest about what he would do if he were elected president.
I’ve been covering the waxing-and-waning threats to cut public-media funding long enough to know one thing. It’s the defenders of public money who bring up Big Bird — and Elmo and Arthur — whenever this happens. It personalizes the debate. It gets people worried about their favorite characters and educational TV for their kids; it conjures the specter of heartless politicians killing Big Bird.

And if you’re a conservative budget cutter or culture warrior, you do whatever you can not to cite Big Bird, or Sesame Street, or any cuddly figure that millions of people love. You talk about Bill Moyers, or a documentary you charge with liberal bias, or the elitism of NPR executives, or some show with lesbians in it. You tell voters that coastal socialist elites are taking your money to undermine your values! You only mention Big Bird, if you must at all, to say that government money or no, Big Bird will be fine.


I’m not sure it’s actually a good political strategy, given that it’s set up his opponents with a fight on their preferred terms. But it’s an interesting way of changing the strategy anyway — seeing if he can win the argument by confronting the we-love-Big-Bird sentiment directly.

Why Is Mitt Romney Picking a Fight with Big Bird?

Finally, NewsOne has an excellent report about Lamar Burton's Thursday night appearance on Soledad O’Brien‘s Starting Point on CNN where he defended Big Bird.
“I couldn’t believe the man actually fixed his mouth to say that. I interpreted it as an attack on children, Soledad…an attack on children who come from a disenfranchised, you know, background.”


“Again, [for me it] goes back to the issue of access. Here’s something I would like to point out, Soledad. I know in this current economic climate we have to make different choices; however, I was raised by a woman whose philosophy it was to give her children the best education she could not afford. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Contextualizing Romney’s Big Bird/PBS comment more, Burton said, “Not only is there value in the free, we have to make the investment in our children if we expect for them to pay off on that investment through their realizing their most full potential. So there are places where you can cut. There are places where you need to cut. And there are places that you just don’t cut because it is not right.”

‘Reading Rainbow’s Levar Burton Ties Romney’s Big Bird Remarks To His 47 Percent Philosophy

Please do your part. Share the videos below via email and social media like Facebook and Twitter. And also continue to help the effort to support Big Bird by LIKING the Million Muppet March page at Facebook, and following @BigBird on Twitter.

Mitt Romney Misled Voters About President Obama's Clean Energy Record

On Screen: Mitt Romney mislead voters about President Obama's clean energy record.

Mit Romney at debate: You put $90 billion into green jobs and these businesses, many of them have gone out of business, I think about half of them of the ones that have been invested in, have gone out of business.

On Screen: Totally false.

On Screen: POLITICO "Romney's numbers from the first presidential debate are not correct. Not even close." [See Romney campaign explains fuzzy green energy math, Politico, October 4, 2012.]

On Screen: The Washington Post: "Nowhere near half of the federal loan or grant recipients have failed." [See Romney’s $90 billion green jobs attack, The Washington Post, October 3, 2012.]

On Screen: The New York Times: "...objectionable whopper ... not even within hailing distance of the truth." - Robert B. Sempler Jr. [See About That ‘$90 Billion’ Green Energy Tax Break, The New York Times, October 4, 2012.]

On Screen: If we can't trust him on the debate stage ... how could we trust him in the Oval Office?


Mitt Romney Didn't Tell the Truth About Medicare

On Screen: At the debate, Mitt Romney didn't tell the truth about Medicare.

Mit Romney at debate: The idea of cutting $716 billion from Medicare to be able to balance the additional costs of Obamacare is in my opinion my mistake.

On Screen: FACTCHECK.ORG: "In fact, Medicare's basic benefits package will be getting better." [See Misleading Onslaught by 60 Plus,, September 17, 2010.]

Video Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC: Under the President's health reform law, that $716 billion comes from trimming planned future increases over the next decade; not from cutting funding. The trims limit payments to healthcare providers and insurers, but do not cost seniors more. And Medicare's chief acturary says that Mr. Obama's health reform, quote substantially improves the program's finances.

On Screen: If we can't trust him on the debate stage ... how could we trust him in the Oval Office?


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