“I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for”, he continued.
Within minutes of the comment being made the hashtag ‘BigBird’ began to trend on Twitter, and a parody account for the character was created by a user.
A photo then began to circulate online of a dishevelled Big Bird holding a sign saying ‘will work for food’.
Thousands of comments began to pour in, mainly in support of the much loved feathered TV character.
Public service broadcasting, such as station PBS which funds Sesame Street, has long been a target of conservatives for cuts.
Romney had previously pledged during a campaign rally in Iowa that he wouldn’t ‘kill Big Bird’, but that he intended to cut PBS funding. He said at the time: “Big Bird is going to have advertisements, all right?”
Bringing the children’s show into a campaign debate could be a deliberate tactic by Romney - Michelle Obama appeared on Sesame Street in 2009 to promote gardening.
The official Sesame Street Twitter account tweeted this afternoon: "Big Bird: My bed time is usually 7:45, but I was really tired yesterday and fell asleep at 7! Did I miss anything last night?"