Mitt Romney Will Get Rid of PBS, Jim Lehrer, and Big Bird

Occupy Sesame Street.

While the media continues to alternatively wail about how Mitt Romney won the debate or high five themselves because Mitt Romney won the debate, let’s talk about the real issues: Big Bird.

Last night, Mitt Romney promised to do what he says he loves doing: Fire people. He looked Jim Lehrer dead in the eyes and said, essentially, “you’re fired”:

Then, looking at moderator Lehrer, Romney said, “I’m sorry, Jim, I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS…. I like PBS, I love Big Bird — I actually like, you too — but I am not going to keep spending money on things [we have] to borrow money from China to pay for.”

This, of course, led to hilarity on Twitter.

[read full-post at ABLC]






37 replies
  1. 1
    Cargo says:

    Ask any Republican, they’ll tell you that PBS, NPR, NEA grants and foreign aid comprise 86.5% of the federal budget.

  2. 2
    BGinCHI says:

    I’m not as worried about Big Bird as I am Bert & Ernie.

    No way a gay couple are going to get any help from a Romney administration.

  3. 3
    BruinKid says:

    So over at the GOS, Greg Diamond has written about the CNN post-debate poll that seems to have basically sampled elderly white Southerners in order to show that Romney won the debate handily.

    While I know that if the sample size is small enough, they’ll put “N/A” down, it seems a bit unreasonable that every region except the South was “N/A”, as well as all non-whites combined.

    It seems… interesting, is what I’ll say. What do you guys think?

  4. 4
    LGRooney says:

    I actually like you, too

    That was such a tell for me – “actually”

    My experience tells me there should be a “despite the fact that” following that phrase.

    It’s a surprise because he’s human? Animate? An evil press corps member?

  5. 5
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @BruinKid: There’s enough stuff out there from other sources to back up the general shape of the CNN instapoll.

    What’s interesting is that same CNN instapoll returned favorable-unfavorable ratings for the candidates not markedly different from their pre-debate levels.

    Which suggests no actual movement….

  6. 6
    The Moar You Know says:

    Sadly, Lehrer made the best argument for his own firing last night. His refusal to even attempt to put a leash on Romney was fucking pathetic.

  7. 7
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    Best tweet on Lehrer nappy time last night:

    Jim Henson’s company is doing a great job moving Jim Lehrer around.

  8. 8
    kd bart says:

    Refresh my memory if I’m wrong but didn’t everyone think that Gore won the first debate over Bush in 2000 until the next day when everyone began to focus in on his sighing?

  9. 9
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    Then, looking at moderator Lehrer, Romney said, “I’m sorry, Jim, I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS…. I like PBS, I love Big Bird—I actually like, you too—but I am not going to keep spending money on things [we have] to borrow money from China to pay for.”

    I’m sure Romney’s minions gave the same weaselly speech to the employees of Bain-owned companies that he laid off. I expect to hear it again in an Obama ad.

  10. 10
    MikeJ says:

    Before it comes up again, let’s talk about the CNN poll.

    The cross tabs don’t report answers for several demos. Let’s look at why.

    The total sample size was 430. They reported a 5.5% margin of error on the age group “50+”. That works out to about 310 of the 430 people being 50 or older. That means there were about 120 people *under* 50. So why do the other columns say N/A?

    The highest margin of error they report is 8.5%. To get that margin of error, you need about 130 people. It looks like if the MoE went over 8.5%, they just didn’t report the cross tabs on that group.

    Were old people over represented? Whites? College educated? Maybe. It’s one of the dangers of small samples. You can’t get meaningful data from subsets.

    The 120 people under 50 were counted in the totals, just not in the cross tabs. Perhaps they should have gone with a bigger sample, and I’m happy to hear that argument (although it starts to drift into wingnut “unskewing” territory). When you say “there were no people under 50” or “there were no non-white people” you’re wrong. Pull out your TI-84 and do the math. There’s generally about 100 people in each column that got a N/A.

  11. 11
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @The Moar You Know: That’s why you work the refs. It takes decades, sure, but then, bang, it’s working for you.

  12. 12
    BGinCHI says:

    Pressure is really on Biden now, no? He needs to stick a fork in Ryan’s lies and obfuscations and do some damage.

    He might as well; he doesn’t have a “cool” character to protect.

    If Team Obama is planning this out, they’ll have him pivot in the next debate. As soon as Romney starts to BS he’ll say “I stood here last time politely while you made up numbers and ran against your own positions. Not tonight.”

  13. 13
    butler says:

    @BruinKid: I don’t think its as bad as everyone seems to saying. They did sample non-whites, non-southerners and under 50, just not in numbers large enough to be able to calculate any type of margin of error.

    The bigger tell is the pre-debate favorable/unfavorable ratings: 52-43 for Romney and 49-50 for Obama. In other words, the exact opposite of reality, where Obama is consitently positive and Romney consistently negative.

    Nothing to worry about, despite what the media says.

  14. 14
    NonyNony says:

    @BruinKid:

    While I know that if the sample size is small enough, they’ll put “N/A” down, it seems a bit unreasonable that every region except the South was “N/A”, as well as all non-whites combined.

    White Southerners over the age of 50, who attended college, who self-identify as “moderate” or “conservative”.

    It’s almost like they didn’t bother to leave the Atlanta area to do their polling.

  15. 15
    General Stuck says:

    I want ads with Big Bird packing, wagging its spindly claw at the evil Mitt Romney

  16. 16
    BGinCHI says:

    @NonyNony: But the Krispy Kreme is right there.

  17. 17
    Steve says:

    Of all the examples of budget cuts Romney could have used, it’s mystifying that he chose to pick on PBS. That was one of his most inexplicable moments of the night.

  18. 18
    SpotWeld says:

    We borrow money from China to spend it on things that ensure we’ll be better than China.

    Education, solar technology (something that China seems to *really* want to prevent the US from being competitive in), the ovearal general health of the population.

    We’ve already got a better military than China, and I’d say the upper levels of our corporate business markets are doing pretty darn well…

    So yeah, I’ll borrow money now to get the kids learning, so when those kids grow up China will be *throwing* money at them to buy thier skills and products.

  19. 19
    BruinKid says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Yeah, before the debate, the people CNN polled already had a solid net favorable rating of Romney, unlike nationally. And yes, those numbers didn’t change that much for either Obama or Romney.

    While I also think Romney won the debate (on style, not substance) by lying his ass off, combined with Obama not calling him out on several already-debunked lies, it seems the only two post-debate polls last night were the CBS and CNN polls. And CBS was only of uncommitted voters, so it didn’t gauge how Americans as a whole felt. That was supposed to be CNN’s job.

    But I don’t think Romney ran away with it as some think, because of one thing where they agreed on. And that was during the “entitlements” portion of the debate, when Lehrer asked them if they agreed that they had stark differences when it came to Medicare. Romney AGREED with Obama, right after Obama explained that “premium support” means vouchers. Romney more or less conceded the point that he would replace Medicare with a voucher program, while Obama would keep Medicare as… well, Medicare.

    I just think that’s a place where Romney showed real weakness last night, and it’s up to Obama and the Democrats (and us noisy bloggers and activists) to drive the point home on that. Because of that, this may be one of those “won the battle, lost the war” situations with Romney.

  20. 20
    Culture of Truth says:

    Is it worth borrowing money from China to give billionaires a tax cut?

  21. 21
    BGinCHI says:

    @BruinKid: I think Obama made a real mistake in letting Romney lie and exaggerate and run against his own stated positions.

    The opportunity he missed is to bring political statements into the 21st century. Romney talked as if there was no way to check his work. He acted as if saying it made it true and that once said it couldn’t be replayed.

    But of course we live in a Replay World now. Obama could well have said: “The numbers you just gave (or the claim you just made) are contradicted by your previous statements. I expect folks, after this debate, to check your claim.”

    He could have done some version of this over and over, leaving markers for real fact checkers.

  22. 22
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Is it worth borrowing money from China to give billionaires a tax cut?

    This needs to be hammered home, repeatedly. Often.

  23. 23
    The Moar You Know says:

    Of all the examples of budget cuts Romney could have used, it’s mystifying that he chose to pick on PBS. That was one of his most inexplicable moments of the night.

    @Steve: Red meat for the base. The base hates PBS with a level of vitriol they usually reserve for Muslims.

  24. 24
    Cargo says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Yep. Wingnuts hate PBS like they hate the UN. Nothing would make them happier than to see it gone.

  25. 25
    Rob in Buffalo says:

    “I am not going to keep spending money on things [we have] to borrow money from China to pay for.”

    So Mitt wants to cut the military budget in half? Good idea!

  26. 26
    Culture of Truth says:

    “I guess Mitt Romney doesn’t watch Downton Abbey. If he wants to see rich people with servants he can see that at home”

  27. 27

    @SpotWeld:

    solar technology (something that China seems to really want to prevent the US from being competitive in),

    They learned well from watching Japan take over the market for DRAM chips (by aggressively dumping) back in the 1980s.

    The Reagan admin of course did nothing about it.

  28. 28
    NonyNony says:

    @Cargo:

    Yep. Wingnuts hate PBS like they hate the UN. Nothing would make them happier than to see it gone.

    Until they go to watch their “Antiques Roadshow” or “This Old House” and find out that it’s gone. And that there’s nothing but crap for their kids/grandkids to watch.

    I have plenty of wingnut relatives. They actually love PBS in practice even if it represents everything that they hate. Kind of like how some of them live off of their Social Security checks at this point but hate “welfare”.

    To be a wingnut is to live with that kind of cognitive dissonance.

  29. 29
    virginia says:

    The Big Bird gaffe has legs — and wings and feathers. Check out RomneyBot Fires Big Bird on YouTube. Silly mistake on Romney’s part. Obama looked tired and confused for sure but Mitt’s hubris will come back to haunt him — always does.

  30. 30
    BruinKid says:

    @MikeJ: Yeah, I should’ve done the math on that one. The 5% margin of error for whites translates to about 380 of the 430, meaning they had a sample that was 88% white, which is not representative of the population. FWIW, the 2008 exit polls showed 75% of the electorate that turned out to vote was white. With the increase in the Latino population, that number is almost certain to be less than 75% this time around.

    But yeah, even with oversampling older and whiter people, I don’t think “unskewing” that would make that much of a difference in the topline numbers. Romney still would’ve easily “won” the debate, just not by a 40-point margin in the snap poll.

  31. 31
    Violet says:

    The FiredBigBird Twitter account is suspended. I haz a sad.

  32. 32
    moda31 says:

    The @BigBird twitter account that sprang up last night, was on a roll with brilliant tweets. the #suuportbigbird tag was a goldmine.

  33. 33
    maya says:

    RMoney may fire Big Bird, but surely he’ll keep Staler and Waldorf? They’re his base!

  34. 34
    WaynersT says:

    DON’T LET HIM GET HIS MITTS ON BIG BIRD!

    MITTS OFF BIG BIRD!

  35. 35
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Steve:

    Of all the examples of budget cuts Romney could have used, it’s mystifying that he chose to pick on PBS. That was one of his most inexplicable moments of the night.

    He got to tell Jim Lehrer that he was putting him out of a job; that always puts the sparkles in Mitt’s magic underwear.

  36. 36
    burnspbesq says:

    Let’s be clear:

    Neither Romney nor anyone else in the Federal government can end PBS. PBS and all of its 300-plus affiliates are private non-profit corporations.

    What Romney could do if elected and if he got filibuster-proof majorities in both houses of Congress, is de-fund The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. If that were to happen, it would be a serious but not catastrophic blow to PBS and its affiliates. All of you free-riders who rely on contributions from chumps like me to make sure you get your Downton Abbey would have to step up to the plate.

    None of which changes the horrid optics of Romney as Leatherface chasing Big Bird with a chainsaw.

  37. 37
    grandpa john says:

    @BGinCHI: He will react but in a way that is much more significant. don’t you think there will be Ads in swing states not only calling out the lies and flipflops but visuals and quotes from Romney himself to prove that they are lies and flipflops.
    .People seem to forget that the only voters who count right now are those in a few swing states, the rest of us are immaterial. I won’t see those ads, I live in a red state, people in blue states won’t see them, but you can bet they will be out therein the swing states
    RCP has Obama currently at 269, Romney at 181 in electoral votes. 7 states are listed as tossups. Of those 7, Obama is currently leading in the polling averages in 5 of them.

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