Hopefully the “Daily Show” wasn’t one of those “comedy shows” that Team Obama planned to air its “satirical” Big Bird advertisement on, because Jon Stewart tore the ad to shreds last night. Noting that “the most damning line in that ad” was “I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message,” Stewart practically pleaded with the campaign to “let it go”:
It’s not just Stewart; in a Reuters report, Democrats said they’re stumped by the small-ball strategy as well. Some wonder whether there’s some hidden strategy here, aimed at cutting into Romney’s gains with women voters, or if it’s simply an effort to rally the base:
The more conspiratorial campaign watchers reckon maybe the president’s team must know something Washington does not.
Perhaps, promising to save Big Bird is a winner among moms. A Pew Research Center survey released this week observed an 18-point swing in Romney’s favor among likely women voters over the course of the last month.
Maybe the Obama folks think the only way to bandage the hurt caused by Obama’s weak debate performance is with laughter.
The winking ad with its knowing use of irony could be a play for young voters, a nudge that says Obama is still the hip politician they knocked on doors for in 2008.
Based on the reaction from Stewart and others, this ad isn’t going to convince younger voters that Obama is “still hip.” But could it be a play for the women’s vote? The Obama campaign would have to be making some pretty broad (and patronizing) assumptions about women if it thinks many will be persuaded by a Sesame Street character. Then again, both Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett, the two women Obama supposedly relies on the most for advice in his life, are zealous Sesame Street fans.
To be honest, I doubt there was any strategy here, beyond a panicked campaign looking for any story to grab onto that wasn’t Obama’s debate performance or Libya. They partially succeeded at that goal, but also made their candidate look like a joke in the process. Now they can’t admit they miscalculated, so they’re insisting this was really just a savvy play for the women’s vote that went over the heads of Washington pundits. Watch them drop the Big Bird line as soon as Paul Ryan and Joe Biden step off the stage tonight.