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'Sesame Street' Frequently Tapped for Gov't. Outreach

By Ed O'Keefe

The cast of "Sesame Street" has frequently partnered with the federal government for various causes.

The federal government has once again recruited the fuzzy residents of Sesame Street for a series of public service announcements, this time asking Elmo and his human friend Gordon to help spread the word about swine flu prevention.

In four separate public service announcements -- one of which you can watch here -- the two characters explain the importance of washing hands and sneezing into the bend of an arm, rather than a hand. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius first announced the PSAs in May, which have since been added, the government's one-stop shop for all things H1N1. The PSAs will air on television stations nationwide that donate the airtime.

This is not the first time the show has partnered with the government or other groups to promote social issues. Earlier this year the show produced a special about how military service members adjust after returning from war and Cookie Monster joined Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to launch a new campaign promoting healthy eating and exercise.

The federal government's relationship with Sesame Street dates back to at least the early 1990s, when Barbara Bush became the first first lady to appear on the show. She read a book with Big Bird, The Count and some children and later appeared with her husband at the start of a Muppet Babies anti-drug special.

Hillary Clinton discussed health tips with Big Bird and Rosita in 1993. In 2003, Laura Bush read a book with Big Bird and Elmo, and Michelle Obama appeared on the show earlier this year to discuss healthy eating.

Street love also spreads to Congress, where former Senate majority leader Bill Frist once taught Elmo how to exercise and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) filmed a PSA with characters in 2005.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 1, 2009; 11:21 AM ET
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments  
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Cooookies! ME Love COOK-KIESSSS...

Posted by: 4thFloor | September 1, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

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