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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

The Big Bird Panic

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No, kids, that bad man isn't going to take away Big Bird, although you wouldn't know from listening to the Obamanites this week, as Democrats shifty from scaring granny to terrifiying the pre-school set.  Jennifer Rubin puts this weird gambit in context:


“Jumped the shark.” “A campaign in panic.” “Lost it.” “Shocking.” These are just as few of the reactions among the media to the latest, dumbest move by the Obama campaign, an ad so trivial and unpresidential it makes one wonder if an epidemic of tone deafness has descended over Chicago:

Just the thing to get over an unpresidential, contentless debate performance by the incredible shrinking candidate, huh? The Republican National Committee couldn't resist and won the battle of Sesame Street ads.

Almost as intriguing as the lame ad was the near-uniform negative reaction among mainstream reporters and pundits of all stripes.

Let’s tally up the ways in which this ad is not helpful to the Obama camp. It keeps discussion of Debate-aggedon going. It is petty, suggesting that’s all the campaign has got to talk about. It makes Mitt Romney’s budget argument all the more powerful — liberals can’t part with PBS subsidies, so how are they going to make the tough calls on the debt? It chews up news cycles and time, neither of which Obama can afford to fritter away at this point. It gives the media another opportunity to show their “even-handedness” by lambasting the Obama team (after months of cooing and protecting the president from hard questions). It will annoy liberals donors and the base, who are already wondering if Obama really wants to win this race.

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