Why Is Team Obama Still Talking About the Debate?

By Garance Franke-Ruta

Republicans seem thrilled the president's reelection campaign keeps bringing up Big Bird and the debate that bounced Romney into the lead in polls.

Bird Bird can't vote, and Sesame Workshop, which produces the show that features him, is not interested in being any more of a political football than it has to be.

"Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns," it said Tuesday in a statement after the Obama campaign released an ad that features the eight-feet-tall bird. "We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down."

The Obama ad is reportedly only airing on national cable, not in any swing states, and has already been roundly mocked by team Romney as a sign of desperation and lack of ideas.

Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki was having none of it. "We understand that when your policy plan is a vapid collection of dusting off the Bush playbook on economic policies that would lead us to the same crisis we just have been going through, and embracing the extreme, out-of-the-mainstream foreign policy positions that have also caused us problems, as the Romney-Ryan team has, that you don't have a lot to talk about, you're going to attack us on Big Bird," she told Politico. "But you know, we're going to go back, and you'll hear the president today continue to lay out the choice and talk about all the substantive policy issues that we think people are making their decisions about."

Still, the timing on the spot is a bit off. Big Bird -- a topic Romney introduced into the conversation, not Obama -- was the story of the day after the debate, but by now attention has turned to Romney's foreign-policy speech. Which just goes to show that it's Romney who is still driving the debate, even this many days after it.

More importantly, the story is still about the debate -- Obama's worst campaign moment all year.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/why-is-team-obama-still-talking-about-the-debate/263407/