At tonight’s debate, Mitt Romney said that he would end government funding for PBS, all while saying he still likes Big Bird. The pop culture reference — one of only two after President Obama cited Donald Trump — inspired a new Twitter handle, @FiredBigBird.
Some of the initial tweets:
Mitt Romney will end Burt and Ernie’s right to a civil union
Somewhere Paul Ryan is kicking over trash cans in hopes of smoking out Oscar the Grouch.
Romney has said that he would zero out public broadcasting funding before, including during an interview in August on “CBS This Morning,” when he was asked for specifics about what he would eliminate to trim the federal budget deficit. As I have written about before, PBS, public television stations and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting argue that eliminating the $445 million of federal funding wouldn’t make much of a dent in the deficit, and also would mean the end of many stations across the country.
But eliminating public broadcasting funding has long been a goal of conservatives who say that the money can be made up for by private contributions. And Romney’s singular choice of PBS as a target for the chopping block not only appeals to conservatives who may be dismayed by his moves to moderation elsewhere, particularly his sudden embrace of government regulation, but he could show that he is specific as a response to attacks that his proposals are too vague.
Romney’s quote: “I’m sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop
other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But
I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to
borrow money from China to pay for. That’s number one.”