By Solvej Schou
Updated October 04, 2012 at 09:48 PM EDT
Credit: STF/AFP/Getty Images; Courtesy of Sesame Street

The Public Broadcasting Service responded fast and furious on Thursday to comments Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made in the first presidential debate Wednesday night about the feathered Sesame Street icon. Romney claimed “I love Big Bird,” but said that he would still slash public broadcasting, prompting the topic of Big Bird to run as rampant as a vat of bird seed on Twitter and other social media.

“We are very disappointed that PBS became a political target in the Presidential debate last night. Governor Romney does not understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers to our nation,” said PBS in a statement on its website. “For more than 40 years, Big Bird has embodied the public broadcasting mission – harnessing the power of media for the good of every citizen, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. Our system serves as a universally accessible resource for education, history, science, arts and civil discourse.”

PBS even bought ad space on Twitter, proclaiming in a promoted tweet: “PBS is trusted, valued and essential. See why at (please retweet!)”

As the presidential race between Romney and President Barack Obama surges on, we wonder if any other Sesame Street favorites will sound off or be targeted. Grover? Elmo? Ernie? Oscar the Grouch? He could probably hurl some trash talk Romney’s way. Pun intended!

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