By Sally Garcia, EnStarz | Oct 06, 2012 02:11 PM EDT
Big Bird and Sesame Street will not be "killed" if Mitt Romney becomes President, despite critics who say the opposite, an executive at the "Sesame Workshop" told CNN's Soledad O'Brien.
Romney sparked criticism among PBS fans and regular viewers during the first Presidential debate when he said he plans to stop the subsidy to PBS to cut Government spending.
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But according to Sherrie Westin, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the "Sesame Workshop," (the educational organization behind "Sesame Street,") Big Bird's existence is not in danger.
" 'Sesame Workshop' receives very, very little funding from PBS," Westin told CNN's O'Brien. "So quite frankly, you can debate whether or not there should be funding of public broadcasting. But when they always try to tout out Big Bird, and say we're going to kill Big Bird - that is actually misleading, because 'Sesame Street' will be here."
Westin explained that "Sesame Worskshop" raises funding through philanthropic, their licensed product, corporate underwriting and sponsorship.
A Sesame Street Big Bird-Mitt Romney Internet meme was sparked from the Presidential debate featuring Big Bird saying "Mitt Romney is Trying to Kill Me," and "Mitt Romney Hates Big Bird," among others.
Schuyler Velasco, an analyst for the Christian Science Monitor, said that in 2011 only about 12 percent of the funding for PBS came from the Government's subsidy.
"The thing about Big Bird and Sesame Street is they have so much outside funding that it's not that Sesame Street is going to disappear. PBS though, that subsidy is a sizable chunk of their budget and is going to be a big blow," she said.
PBS released a statement accusing Romney of not understanding the value people place on the network.
"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. We think it is important to set the record straight and let the facts speak for themselves," PBS stated.
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