The Ed Show | October 05, 2012
>>> show. president obama has a new and surprisingly popular political al ally. and his name is big bird . on the campaign trail today the president continued to hammer mitt romney for his pledge to cut federal funding to pbs as a means to cut spending and reduce the debt.
>> governor plans to let wall street run wild again but he's going to bring the hammer down on " sesame street ." it makes perfect sense.
>> the president understands main street is a fan of " sesame street ." in fact, a 2008 survey found that 77 million americans watched the show as children. kind of an american institution. and children who frequently view " sesame street " as preschoolers have high school grade point averages. almost 16% higher than those who don't. which is just one of the ways pbs earns its title of america 's biggest classroom. mitt romney joins a long list of republicans who have turned public programming like pbs into political pinatas. in 1969 president richard nixon wanted to cut proposed funding for cpb in half. the late mr. rogers, everyone's neighbor, appeared before the senate subcommittee on communications and gave what proves to be a timeless defense of programs like those offered by pbs .
>> we made a hundred programs for een, the eastern educational network , and then when the money ran out people in boston and pittsburgh and chicago all came to the foreand said we've got to have more of this neighborhood expression of care. and this is what i give. i give an expression of care every day to each child. unfortunately levar burton had a travel delay and could not join us tonight. we'll have him on the program next week if he is available. this story isn't going to go away. politics takes funny turns now and then. for the life of me i will never understand why mitt romney thinks this is a huge problem in the federal budget deficit. it's amazing. karen finney stays with us tonight. what is the strategy here, karen ? why would mitt romney -- this is such a sliver of the federal budget . why would he use something so small yet something that has such a huge impact on american society ? why would he use that and attack that in of all places on the format in front of a debate crowd of some 67 million people? what do you think?
>> you know, i think that was the dog whistle to conservatives that, or the little wink-wink that i'm still with you. i'm going to cut pbs . i'm taking down big bird . i'm the tough guy. seriously. if you think about how on that stage we saw this performance of mitt romney , you know, trying to be this different kind of guy, and he cares about people, but what's the one classic conservative punch line that he could not let go of? going after big bird and pbs . i have to tell you i've worked in education for several years and as you know " sesame street " and a lot of the programming on pbs is the gold standard not just here in america but around the world for educational programming and for young people , for children. so i mean if you want to talk about somebody who doesn't understand america suggesting that cutting that is not, should not be a priority to keep it, i don't understand that. i really don't.
>> how do you think president obama has played it? i mean, it's a serious issue.
>> god forbid if pbs were to get cut like that because of the educational programs they give our young people in this country. but he has used it in a different way, not serious, but almost in a joking fashion, you know, somebody is after big bird now. does that play well?
>> i think it does because it's a very quick, memorable way for people to remember that what we're talking about here, the math doesn't add up. it goes to a much larger serious point. obviously pbs is very important but here you have mitt romney saying, i mean it is a $5 trillion hole. i don't care what they -- how they try to spin it. that's the truth. and the truth is as we know it the math doesn't add up between the loop holes they say they'll do away with and the tax cuts and they're going to do it on the back of big bird ? i mean it's a great way to remind people that you just cannot trust these guys.
>> well, levar burton who we will get on the program, spent 25 years encouraging kids to read. isn't it interesting that the republican party think it's really not that important to get people to read and be well informed. i think there is a real message there big time and i think the american people should be, they are, and they should be upset about this. but it also underscores this. how dangerous the conservative movement is in this country.
>> they want to limit the information now to young people . that's what it sounds like. karen finney, great to have you with us tonight. i appreciate your time. thanks for staying with us here on