Muppets become embroiled in controversy over funding for public broadcasting

Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., center, accompanied by, from left, Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y., Arthur the Aardvark, Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., speaks during news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011, to discuss the future of Public Broadcasting. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., center, accompanied by, from left, Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y., Arthur the Aardvark, Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., speaks during news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011, to discuss the future of Public Broadcasting.
(AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
Republican South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint lashed out recently against a group he deemed was becoming a cadre of "political animals": the Muppets.

Citing a recent news conference on Capitol Hill, in which a handful of Muppets appeared alongside Democratic Congress members protesting proposed funding cuts in public broadcasting, DeMint accused the beloved children's characters of inappropriately political behavior.

"At this rate, Americans can expect Big Bird to start filming commercials to hype ObamaCare," DeMint wrote in an opinion piece.

"It's time to draw a clear distinction between the government and entertainment," DeMint argued. "Democrats shouldn't cast our children's most beloved creatures as characters for their big-government, big-spending causes."

President Obama's proposed budget calls for $451 million in funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a figure that many Republicans are trying to reduce.

In a blog post, DeMint put that sum into perspective: "It would take Count Von Count more than 42 years to count the 451 million, one 'Ah! Ah! Ah!' dollar at a time," he wrote.

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