If Mitt Romney had had his way, Big Bird would be a distant memory by now.
Four months after becoming a hot topic in the presidential campaign, the character from public television’s “Sesame Street” is back in the political spotlight.
The White House announced Thursday that Big Bird has teamed up with First Lady Michelle Obama to star in a pair of public service announcements that encourage kids to eat healthier and be more active.
The announcements are part of the third anniversary celebration of “Let’s Move,” the first lady’s anti-childhood obesity program. The videos will be distributed to more than 300 Public Broadcasting Service television stations.
One ad features the first lady and Big Bird in the White House kitchen showing how easy it is to eat healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables:
In the other spot, Big Bird jogs, jumps and dances in the East Room as Mrs. Obama explains the importance of daily exercise.
They also got the word out with a charming exchange on Twitter (and a thank you note from Big Bird):
Big Bird: So fun exercising at White House, @flotus! Hope your husband didn’t mind all the loud stomping. I’m not exactly light on my feet.
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) February 21, 2013
— FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) February 21, 2013
Mrs. Obama will also travel to Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri next week to promote new efforts to combat childhood obesity.
Big Bird became a flash-point in the presidential campaign when GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney promised to cut the federal subsidy to the Public Broadcasting Service, which airs “Sesame Street,” to help reduce the deficit.
“I like PBS, I love Big Bird,” Romney said during the first debate with President Obama in Denver on October 4, 2012. “I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”
Obama pounced on the remark on the campaign trail.
“Thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird,” the president said the next day. “We didn’t know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit, but that’s what we heard last night.”