The GOP candidate’s promise to cut off taxpayer money to PBS was rewound and rewatched more than any other in Wednesday’s telecast.
When GOP candidate Mitt Romney said he would yank taxpayer money from PBS, even though he loves Big Bird, more TiVo users rewound and rewatched that moment than any other in the debate.
Why does this matter? Because the “zinger” Romney was hoping all of America would remember from the presidential debates was not that he was planning on murdering your children’s best friend.
By being dumb enough to bring up funding for public broadcasting, let alone naming Big Bird by name, Mitt Romney risks a reversal of whatever gains he got by “winning” the debate.
I’m not even entirely sure if you can call Romney’s win a win anymore.
Ask anyone who saw the debate to name a moment from it – they’re all going to say Big Bird. I’d honestly have to think hard to remember a second moment. Okay, Obama’s anniversary. But Big Bird is going to be the first thing that pop’s into anyone’s head, even those who didn’t see the debate.
Now ask people to name something memorable that Obama said. Again, other than the anniversary, I’m not sure I can come up with anything off the top of my head.
So your Romney memory is negative, and your Obama memory is neutral.
What effect is all of this going to have on the polls? At the very least you’d expect it to color people’s takeaway from the debate. To the extent that Romney was expecting a debate-bump in the polls, he might get less of it now that the death of Big Bird is the defining moment of the debate, and it’s what people are going to think of when asked about the debate in the future.
It’s looking more and more like President Obama’s comatose performance may not have been such a bad strategy after all.