Sesame Street funding became a hot topic after GOP candidate Mitt Romney said during Wednesday’s debate that he would pull funding for PBS in an attempt to cut the national deficit, but the stance isn’t going over too well with one of the creators of the show.
Lloyd Morrisett, one of the creators of Sesame Street, came to the show’s defense the day after the debate, saying it was confusing her hear Mitt Romney use it to try to score political points.
“I rolled my eyes,” Morrisett told the New York Daily News. He added that he thought to himself, “What the hell is this?”
Sesame Street funding became one of the stories of the debate after Romney told moderator Jim Lehrer — who also hosts a show on PBS — that while he loved Big Bird and Sesame Street, he would pull funding for the show if he were elected president rather than borrow money from China to finance it.
Morrisett said Romney’s idea of cutting Sesame Street funding sounded inane.
“To argue that’s going to save much money is a stretch of the truth,” Morrisett said. “I think it’s sort of silly.”
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds both PBS and NPR, received $444 million from the federal government in 2012. In the past, Romney has been clear about his intention to cut Sesame Street funding if elected.
“Some of these things, like those endowment efforts and PBS I very much appreciate and like what they do in many cases,” Romney told Fortune, “But I just think they have to stand on their own rather than receiving money borrowed from other countries, as our government does on their behalf.”
The Sesame Street funding flap threatened to overshadow a debate that Romney won clearly according to most pundits. It spawned tens of thousands of tweets per minute during the debate itself, and afterward became a subject of criticism for Romney and comedy for many others.