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McCain: Obama's Big Bird ad shows 'paucity of ideas'


A new television ad mocking Mitt Romney for promising to end federal funding for PBS – and sarcastically portraying Big Bird as a corporate villain – shows a lack of ideas by the Obama campaign and an inability to focus on the real issues, John McCain said Tuesday. 

“It may show a paucity of ideas in ways to criticize Mitt Romney,” the Arizona senator and former Republican presidential candidate told Matt Lauer on TODAY. “The fact is, the economy is still in very bad shape, and obviously, the American people are still in very difficult conditions, and the one thing President Obama can’t run on is his record. And so Big Bird is a fun thing to talk about.”

The ad mockingly compares the beloved Sesame Street character (and the breakout star from last week’s presidential debate) to major white-collar felons. Its narrator intones: “Bernie Madoff. Ken Lay. Dennis Kozlowski. Criminals. Gluttons of greed. And the evil genius who towered over them?” As an image of the world’s most famous 8-foot bird, the narrator continues: “Big. Yellow. A menace to our economy. Mitt Romney knows it’s not Wall Street you have to worry about. It’s Sesame Street.”

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) discusses Mitt Romney's experience on foreign policy and compares it to President Obama's after four years in the White House.

The humorous commercial definitely will “grab attention,” McCain acknowledged, quipping: “I love Big Bird. I’m for an earmark for Big Bird.”

The last debate may have made a star of Big Bird, but it also helped give Romney a ratings boost. A new Pew Research Center poll wiped out Obama’s previous lead and now gives the Republican nominee a four-point advantage among likely voters, 49 percent to 45 percent.

But McCain said Romney mustn’t get complacent, especially with two more presidential debates still ahead. He criticized the tone that he says Obama has set on the campaign trail since the last presidential face-off, with the president challenging Romney over the truth behind his campaign promises.

“I’ve never seen anything like these continuous attacks. Calling Mitt Romney a liar? That’s not an elevated debate,” he said.

McCain predicted Romney will continue to do well in the debates, but warned against underestimating Obama's next performance.

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