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Big Bird Goes Viral, Thanks To Mitt Romney

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Oct. 3 2012, Published 12:00 p.m. ET

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By Adam S. Levy - Radar Staff Writer

The path to Pennsylvania Avenue took a detour through Sesame Street during Wednesday's presidential debate, as Mitt Romney's name-dropping of Big Bird sent the fluffy yellow character's name in social media overdrive.

In the debate with President Barack Obama, the Republican presidential candidate was explaining that, if elected, he would no longer subsidize PBS with money America would have to borrow from China.

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He told PBS broadcaster Jim Lehrer, who was the moderator of the debate, "I'm sorry, Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS.

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"I like PBS," Romney said. "I love Big Bird."

Twitter officials said users tweeted the words "Big Bird" at a rate of 17,000 times per minute, with spoof accounts such as @BigBirdRomney and @FiredBigBird emerging from the fray with thousands of followers. Google reported the character's name was among Wednesday's top five searches.

The show said in response that since the Big Bird character is supposed to be 6-years-old, he's not interested in politics.

Fun Fact: Big Bird's teddy bear is named Radar.

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