Big Bird is flying high in the 2012 presidential campaign.

President Barack Obama's campaign deployed the "Sesame Street" icon in a TV ad yesterday that mocks Mitt Romney for saying he would defund public broadcasting if elected.

The foundation backing "Sesame Street" disavowed the spot, and Romney dismissed it as un-serious even though he raised Big Bird as an issue at last week's presidential debate.

"I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS," Romney said, adding, "I like PBS, I love Big Bird."

The satiric Obama campaign ad, set to air on national broadcast and cable stations, shows images of convicted financiers including Bernie Madoff and Enron's Ken Lay, and suggests Romney believes Big Bird is responsible for their crimes.

The Sesame Workshop, which supports "Sesame Street" and other public broadcasting shows, demanded that Obama's campaign remove the ad.

"Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns," the organization said in a statement. "We have approved no campaign ads and, as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down."

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said the campaign was reviewing the organization's concerns.

-- AP

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