Update (11:40 a.m.)
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, has released a statement requesting the Obama ad be taken 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.
Original post follows
It may not be the most serious ad of the presidential campaign so far, but it's probably the most colorful.
A week after the first presidential debate, in which GOP candidate Mitt Romney promised to cut the federal subsidy to PBS and launched a thousand Big Bird-themed memes, the Obama campaign as gone all-in with a new ad starring the big yellow Muppet.
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.
The ad, according to CBS, the ad will air on national cable and during comedy shows, not specifically in battleground markets.
Romney's campaign, not amused, responded with a sharply worded statement.
"Four years ago, President Obama said that if you don't have a record to run on, 'you make a big election about small things,'" Ryan Williams, a Romney spokesman said. "With 23 million people struggling for work, incomes falling, and gas prices soaring, Americans deserve more from their president."
Romney's comments at the debate, now famous, provided critics with the fodder for some pretty incredulous attacks.
"I'm sorry Jim [Lehrer], I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS." Romney said. "I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you too. But I'm not going to--I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for."
According to the Christian Science Monitor, PBS gets $445 million a year in federal subsidies--about 12 percent of its annual funding, and less than 1/100th of a percent of the federal budget.
Online, and particularly on Twitter, fans of Sesame Street immediately came to Big Bird's defense.
And before the debate had even ended, the Obama campaign had released several Big Bird-themed images.
And the Romney campaign had struck back with a graphic of their own.