HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Governor Mitt Romney generated endless headlines when, during the first presidential debate, he referenced Big Bird while citing federal funding for PBS as something he would be willing to cut from the budget. President Barack Obama’s campaign quickly latched onto the remark, using it to belittle the seriousness of Mr. Romney’s budget plans. Mr. Obama even released a television advertisement based completely off the Big Bird flap. Though Republicans subsequently criticized the Obama campaign’s focus on the Muppet as unserious, the president brought up the comment again on stage during tonight’s debate.
Mr. Obama referenced Big Bird while launching a broadside against Mr. Romney’s deficit reduction plan.
“Now, what he says is that this doesn’t add to the deficit and he’s going to cut middle class taxes, but when he’s asked, ‘How are you going to do it? Which deductions, which loopholes?’ He can’t tell you,” Mr. Obama said. “We haven’t heard from the governor any specifics beyond than Big Bird and funding for Planned Parenthood in terms of how he pays for that.”
The reference to Big Bird was one of Mr. Obama’s many combative comments, indicating a more aggressive approach to his Republican rival than he projected during his poorly-reviewed performance in the first presidential debate.