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NEW YORK (
TheStreet) -- The election has turned to the woes on Sesame Street.
Out with a television ad on Tuesday, the Obama campaign has slammed Republican nominee Mitt Romney's bizarre reference to Big Bird during last week's presidential debate.
"Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay, Dennis Kozlowski -- criminals, gluttons of greed. And the evil genius who towered over them? One man has the guts to speak his name," a voice over says to images of the convicted businessmen, "Big Bird."
The ad, approved by President Barack Obama, claims that Romney knows it isn't Wall Street that Americans must worry about but Sesame Street.
The ad ridicules Romney's comment in last week's debate that he would cut funding to public broadcasting. The GOP nominee added that he liked Big Bird and Jim Lehrer -- the debate's moderator who has been a staple newsman on the Public Broadcasting Service since the 1970s.
Big Bird, the gigantic yellow bird created by legendary puppeteer Jim Henson, made
an appearance on Saturday Night Live last weekend after chatter grew at the thought that Romney, if elected, would "fire" him.
When asked by writer Seth Meyers if he had any political statement he wanted to make, Big Bird instead told a joke.
"No, I don't want to ruffle any feathers, but I do have a political joke," the bird said. "You know who loves De-baits? De fishes ... because fish eat bait. It's a thinker."
The Romney campaign emailed reporters Tuesday morning to shrug off the ad as proof that the Obama campaign would rather talk about Big Bird than issues that are affecting millions of struggling Americans.
"With 23 million people struggling for work, incomes falling, and gas prices soaring, Americans deserve more from their president," said Amanda Henneberg, a Romney spokeswoman.
The Sesame Workshop requested that the Obama campaign take the ad down.
"Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down," Sesame Workshop wrote in a statement on Tuesday.
-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.