Mitt Romney promised during Wednesday night's debate to cut funding for PBS.
"I'm sorry Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS," Romney told PBS anchor Jim Lehrer, who was moderating the debate.
"I like PBS. I love Big Bird," Romney said, referring to the popular "Sesame Street" character. "I actually like you too."
Public broadcasting nonprofits PBS and NPR receive only a fraction of their budgets from the federal government. Their supporters argue that they provide valuable educational programming at a low cost to taxpayers.
But the public broadcasters have long been a target for conservatives, who object to their public funding and the nature of their reporting, which some feel is slanted toward the left.
A few minutes after the comment, "Big Bird" was a trending topic nationwide on Twitter.