C is for cookie and it’s also for curious choice in photo opportunities by a politician. On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was photographed with Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster at an event to promote the USO. It was an interesting pairing. Pelosi has long been known on Capitol Hill for her ability to stay on message while the Cookie Monster is notorious for his total lack of impulse control once he has a cookie in front of him. Pelosi is one of many politicians who have given in to the temptation of being pictured alongside a cartoon character or Muppet.
In March, Kermit the Frog appeared with First Lady Michelle Obama at an event for military families at the White House. At the event, the movie "Muppets Most Wanted" was shown. Not concidentally, the event coincided with the promotional campaign around that film's release. During the visit, Kermit kissed the First Lady's hand, risking the potential jealousy of Miss Piggy.
In 2005, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld partnered with Marvel Comics to promote a new comic book produced for members of the Armed Forces. Rumsfeld flexed his muscles with Spiderman and Captain America in order announce that 1 million copies of the “Support Our Troops” comic book, featuring the New Avengers and the Fantastic Four, would be distributed to troops both in the United States and overseas.
At a White House Christmas party in 1987, Alf, the space alien from the planet Melmac and star of the self-titled NBC sitcom, palled around First Lady Nancy Reagan. Fortunately, as the Reagans only had dogs, there was no risk of a political incident being provoked by Alf's well-known propensity for eating cats.
In 2012, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared with members of the Muppets in Times Square to announce that the creatures would be New York’s official family ambassadors. Although the Muppets did famously take Manhattan it was unclear, what, if any, experience they had in the outer boroughs.
In 2011, then-Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) appeared with Arthur the Aardvark, the star of the PBS show Arthur, to promote funding for public broadcasting. Markey, who is now a senator, proclaimed at the time, “We can’t leave Arthur and his pals in the lurch.” In making his stand, Markey showed a certain level of courage. There is an inherent risk of embarassment anytime someone with a Massachusetts accent has to pronounce the words “Arthur the Aardvark” in public.