During his presidential debate with Barack Obama, Mitt Romney said he wouldn't hesitate to cut PBS funding. His statement quickly made #BigBird a trending topic on Twitter nationwide as many worried that the GOP candidate's plan would threaten the future of "Sesame Street" and its beloved characters, including Big Bird.
Setting things straight, Sesame Workshop has assured people that Romney's plan to zero-out federal spending for public broadcasting won't have such big effect on the show. "Quite frankly, you can debate whether or not there should be funding of public broadcasting. But when they always try to tout out Big Bird, and say we're going to kill Big Bird - that is actually misleading," says the show's executive vice president Sherrie Westin, "because Sesame Street will be here. Big Bird lives on."
Westin explains to CNN, "Sesame Workshop receives very, very little funding from PBS. We are able to raise our funding through philanthropic, through our licensed product, which goes back into the educational programming, through corporate underwriting and sponsorship."
Sesame Workshop also releases a statement saying, "We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. We do not comment on campaigns, but we're happy we can all agree that everyone likes Big Bird!" PBS, on the other hand, states, "The federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget. Elimination of funding would have virtually no impact on the nation's debt."
On the debate which was held Wednesday, October 3, Romney told moderator and PBS veteran Jim Lehrer, "I'm sorry Jim. I'm gonna stop the subsidy to PBS," when asked what non-essential items he would trim from the federal budget. Hinting that he would single out Big Bird, the politician gushed, "I like PBS, I like Big Bird, I actually like you too."