On Thursday night, the former Emmy-winning host and producer of “Reading Rainbow,” Levar Burton (pictured right), blasted GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for his Big Bird remarks about cutting funding to non-profit television station PBS.
This week while debating President Barack Obama, Romney said to nonexistent moderator Jim Lehrer, who is also the executive editor of PBS’ “NewsHour,” “I’m sorry Jim, I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you too. But I’m not gonna keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”
Watch Romney’s arrogance in full display here:
On Soledad O’Brien‘s (pictured above) “Starting Point,” Burton vented that Romney’s comments were an attack on children, especially the disenfranchised:
“I couldn’t believe the man actually fixed his mouth to say that. I interpreted it as an attack on children, Soledad…an attack on children who come from a disenfranchised, you know, background.”
To Burton, PBS shows, such as “Sesame Street,” provide lower-income children with access to education and information that they normally wouldn’t have access to:
“Again, [for me it] goes back to the issue of access. Here’s something I would like to point out, Soledad. I know in this current economic climate we have to make different choices; however, I was raised by a woman whose philosophy it was to give her children the best education she could not afford. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
Contextualizing Romney’s Big Bird/PBS comment more, Burton said, “Not only is there value in the free, we have to make the investment in our children if we expect for them to pay off on that investment through their realizing their most full potential. So there are places where you can cut. There are places where you need to cut. And there are places that you just don’t cut because it is not right.”
While some may be parochial enough to think that Burton is making much ado about nothing, Burton displays an intellectual sophistication in tying Romney’s latest comments to his problematic philosophy about low- and- middle-class America:
“PBS is the nation’s largest classroom. It guarantees equal access to the wonderfulness that PBS has provided for almost 50 years in this country. And to callously, blatantly, say that it’s on the agenda to cut, is just — it is not okay. Because look, clearly this candidate — and I don’t believe that Mitt Romney is a bad guy — but I do believe that he believes what he said the other night. And I believe that his comment about the 47 percent is actually what he believes.”
Watch the insightful interview here:
While some of the media may want to continue to spin Romney’s presidential debate speech as the second coming of Jesus, voters really need to pay attention to not only what Romney is saying but how. Thursday night, while talking with FOX News’ Sean Hannity, Romney backpedaled on his 47 percent comments, saying, “In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong.”
But at the time of his campaign meltdown, Romney refused to disavow his comments, saying, “It’s [the 47 percent]is not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. I was speaking off the cuff in response to a question…. It’s a message which I am going to carry and continue to carry, which is that the president’s approach is attractive to people who are not paying taxes because frankly my discussion about lowering taxes isn’t as attractive to them. Therefore I’m not likely to draw them into my campaign as effectively as those in the middle.”
Thursday morning, NewsOne sat in on a press conference with Obama’s Senior Strategist, David Axelrod. Seemingly unmiffed by all of the criticism President Obama received due to his “lacklaster” debate performance, Axelrod said:
“I think the question for you, for the American people, is really one of character, and whether or not a candidacy that’s so fundamentally rooted in hiding the truth and the facts from the American people, and deception, is the basis of trust on which you would assign the presidency to a person. So that is what we are going to focus on moving forward. We’re going to hold Governor Romney accountable for the things that he said last night and we are going to make him justify those claims.”
As the dust settles and the Romney’s glitz fades, the public is now starting to digest what was said by Romney during the debate. And it ain’t pretty. Indeed, Romney will be held to task for his record…one voter at a time.