The general consensus -- among moms and debate viewers in general -- is that Mitt Romney “won” Wednesday night’s presidential debate.
But he made a major misstep with some moms when he referred to his plan to cut funding to PBS if elected. I spoke with Robin Meade about this issue and more yesterday morning on HLN's "Morning Express."
Click through to see the video!
“I’m sorry, Jim,” Gov. Romney told debate moderator and PBS anchor Jim Lehrer. “I’m going to the stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”
It’s one thing to tell a mom that funding of non-critical federal programs should be cut. It’s another thing altogether to jeopardize the future of Big Bird. “It was the ONLY thing he said last night that I didn't like,” wrote mom Nancy on our Moms Matter Facebook page. “I hope that Big Bird pecks the hell out of him!” added reader Jean.
Other Moms Matter readers, though, said Romney was on the right track. “It's time to tighten our belts,” wrote mom Melissa. “If times are tough in your own home, then you cut the spending. Same situation on a national level. I am sure we all will welcome Big Bird back -- eventually. This isn't dire news -- the economy is.”
Why did the Big Bird comment strike such a nerve with mothers? As a mom myself, I can tell you that PBS Kids programming absolutely saved me when my kids were small. I could turn it on from time to time and sneak in a phone call or a little bit of work, knowing that my kids were watching television that was educational and commercial-free. Sesame Street in particular is basically the Holy Grail of kids’ TV. Most moms remember the show from their own childhoods -- it gives parents a warm, fuzzy feeling to see their children relate to the same characters they loved growing up.
Perhaps Mitt Romney needs to take a closer look at PBS if elected president and simply make federal funding conditional. He could suggest that the executives there lower costs by cutting Lawrence Welk re-runs, Masterpiece Mystery, and America Quilts. I personally believe those are programs that the nation could live without.
Eliminate Big Bird, though, and trust me. The feathers will fly.
What did you think about Gov. Romney's target on Big Bird? Do you think it was a mistake to call out Sesame Street during the debate?
Screen grab via HLNTV.com