Mitt Romney loves Big Bird: Comment about PBS during presidential debate sparks social media

CLEVELAND - If Mitt Romney becomes president, Big Bird may have to watch his tail feathers.

Yes, people are talking about a popular "Sesame Street" character the morning after the first presidential debate.

With the words "I love Big Bird," the Republican nominee Romney set off a social media explosion during Wednesday night's debate.

Talk of the big yellow bird that graces children's television screens on a daily basis is not what you expect to hear during a presidential debate - and that's probably why people are talking about it.

The friendly neighborhood bird came up as Romney responded to moderator Jim Lehrer, of PBS, about cutting the deficit.

"I'm sorry, Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird," Romney said. "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."

Reaction immediately followed on social media and is continuing into Thursday morning.

The parody account @FiredBigBird quickly hit Twitter and has already reached more than 24,000 followers.

"Mitt Romney will end Bert and Ernie's right to a civil union" and "Somewhere Paul Ryan is kicking over trash cans in hopes of smoking out Oscar the Grouch" @FiredBigBird tweeted.

It also doesn't take long for clever folks to post memes like this one that's making the rounds.

Twitter's official politics account @gov said the presidential debate set a record for most tweeted about U.S. political event. It also said there were 17,000 Tweets per minute for "Big Bird" and 10,000 Tweets per minute for "PBS."

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