Tales from the Trail

Big Bird to Obama: Take down your TV ad

Big Bird, a bright-yellow protagonist of children’s television show “Sesame Street,” wants out of his role in a nationwide television advertisement for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

In the 30-second TV ad and an accompanying statement, the president’s re-election team needled Republican challenger Mitt Romney for focusing on cutting government support to “Sesame Street” distributor PBS, which would do little to reign in excess spending, instead of offering specific details about financial regulations needed to prevent financial fraud, such as the Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Bernie Madoff.

“Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about, it’s Sesame Street,” says the narrator in the spot, set to run on cable TV nationwide. “Mitt Romney. Taking on our enemies, no matter where they nest.”

But Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the long-running educational show, wants the ad removed.

“We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down,” according to a statement from Sesame Workshop.

Newt’s home field advantage was among the weakest

Newt Gingrich faces some do-or-die primary contests in Dixie, his supposed home turf, over the next few days. Alabama and Mississippi hold their respective Republican primaries on Tuesday with Gingrich, the former U.S. House Speaker, and former Senator Rick Santorum expected to compete for, and potentially split, the conservative/evangelical vote.

Gingrich, though, didn’t do that well on his actual home turf – Georgia – during the Super Tuesday contests. Sure, the former history and geography professor at the University of West Georgia and 20-year representative of the state’s 6th Congressional district won 47.2 percent of the Republican vote in the Peachtree State. But according to political scientist Eric Ostermeier, that was one of the worst home-state primary performances by a Republican in decades.

Ostermeier, from the Humphrey School’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota, writes the blog Smart Politics, which plumbs the political data for noteworthy facts and trends.