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Barack Obama Sesame 40th

President Obama addresses the 2009 Sesame Workshop Benefit Gala.

Barack Obama, the first Sesame Street president.
Illustration by Gerard Dubois for TIME Magazine, June 2009.

Malia, Sasha and Michelle Obama, Kermit the Frog, Carson Daly, Steve Whitmire, Santa Claus and Barack Obama at The National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in 2011.

President Obama meets Miss Piggy at The National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in 2015.

Elmo and Rosita (left) joined Barack and Michelle Obama (center) to harvest the White House Kitchen Garden on October 6, 2016. Other guests included NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, NBC's Al Roker and Sam Kass, NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning, and students from across the country.

Barack Obama (b. 1961) is an American politician who served as the 44th President of the United States from 2009 to 2017, and was the first African-American elected to the position. He had previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois between 2005 and 2008, and as a member of the Illinois Senate from the 13th district between 1997 and 2004.

During a 2008 fund-raising dinner, Obama remarked to Sesame Workshop co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney that he "used to watch Sesame Street when [he] was babysitting [his] sister."[1]

Elmo, Rosita, a Muppet number 1 and the letters U, S and A recorded special videos for the We Are One concert event celebrating Obama's inauguration as President in January 2009. Count von Count appeared in a video produced for Obama's second inauguration in January 2013.[2]

On April 12, 2009, President Obama hosted the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the lawn of The White House. The president treated the crowd to a reading of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are; while other readers included first lady Michelle Obama and actors James Cromwell and Daniel Stern. Walk-around versions of Elmo and Abby Cadabby from Sesame Street, and Sid from Sid the Science Kid were in attendance at the event along with other PBS Kids characters.

President Obama recorded a video message for the 2009 Sesame Workshop Benefit Gala congratulating and thanking Sesame Workshop for their 40 years of educating America's youth.

β€œIt is my honor and privilege, as a parent and as president, to say on this wonderful occasion that this video is brought to you by the number 40. I'm pleased to join all of you in supporting and celebrating this program, as someone who remembers fondly watching Sesame Street with my younger sister and as a parent of two girls who learned a great deal while spending time with Elmo and Big Bird and all of their pals. Sesame Street has over the course of four decades managed to remain, at once relevant in changing times, timeless in the values that it instills in our children. In fact, there are many adults who could stand to learn again the lessons that Sesame Street offers: lessons of compassion, and kindness and respect for our differences. The world is a better place for the world you create on 'Sesame Street,' a world that enriches our children's minds and hearts each and every day.[3]”

PBS used this to open their coverage during the TV Critics' Press Tour on August 1, 2009.

The President again acknowledged Sesame Street’s 40th Anniversary in a message recorded for A Capitol Fourth.

President Obama appeared on the final broadcast of CNN's Larry King Live in a videotaped tribute to the career of host Larry King. The President noted that King has interviewed "everyone from presidents to generals, to Kermit the Frog to Joe from Tacoma."

Characters from the Muppets and Sesame Street β€” including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Abby Cadabby and Elmo β€” have appeared with Obama and his family at the White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll and Christmas Tree Lighting ceremonies.

Obama is Caroll Spinney's ninth cousin, twice removed.[4]


"Change you can believe in."

"I, uh, am, uh, Barack Obama. I can, uh, have, uh, whatever I want for dinner."

  • In a 2008 appearance on Capitol Hill, sponsored by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, Kermit the Frog spoke of his future career in politics by referencing Obama's 2008 campaign slogan "Change You Can Believe In". Kermit stated, "I'd probably hop for office before I'd run. Ha ha! I don't know... Perhaps. I could, y'know, what am I good at? Should I start small, like a mayor, move up the chain? Sure, sure. Why not? Change you can believe in."[5]
  • In a 2008 appearance on 97.1 Free FM's "Frosty, Heidi and Frank Show"; Kermit and Fozzie talked about the presidential campaign. Kermit stated that "[Obama]'s more like a frog. You see... if I had ears, don't you think I'd look a little like him?"; while Fozzie remarked that he served as the opening act for Obama on the campaign trail.[6]


Miss Piggy and performer Eric Jacobson meet President Obama at The National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in 2015.

See also

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