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Mr. Elmo goes to Washington


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In what may be the first appearance of a Muppet before a congressional committee, "Sesame Street" favorite Elmo donned his best suit and tie and took his cause to Capitol Hill.

The red, furry friend to toddlers everywhere gave evidence before the Education Appropriations Subcommittee to urge more spending on music research and musical instruments for school programs.

But why was this issue so close to the heart of the oft-tickled one, who's only 3?

Muppet Elmo appears before the Education Appropriations Subcommittee to urge more spending on music in schools. CNN's Bruce Morton reports (April 23)

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His mission was to ensure that "when Elmo goes to school, there will be the instruments to play," he explained before joining Joe Lamond, head of an international trade association of musical instrument makers, in the committee room.

"I think Elmo, in many ways, speaks for all children everywhere that musical learning starts in that preschool age and really does help prepare children to learn more in school," Lamond said.

Elmo is something of a Washington insider now. He was at an education event at the White House earlier this month.

And since he is such an insider, CNN asked for his reaction to the big news of the day -- senior White House aide Karen Hughes' resignation to go back to Texas.

"That's wonderful!" Elmo exclaimed. "That means her children are very, very important to her, maybe more important than the president. That's wonderful. Elmo loves you very much, Ms. Karen, and you are a wonderful mother."

Wasn't that pretty much what the president said?

-- Bruce Morton of the CNN Washington bureau contributed to this report.




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