Reading Rainbow Host: Romney 'Targeting America's Children' By Vowing to Cut PBS

By Elizabeth Harrington | October 8, 2012 | 12:58 PM EDT

LeVar Burton, former host of the PBS program, "Reading Rainbow," which ran from 1983 to 2006. (AP)

( – Former “Reading Rainbow” host LeVar Burton said Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney “targeted” America’s children by vowing to defund the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) during last week’s presidential debate.

"I am personally outraged that any serious contender for the White House would target as part of his campaign the children of America in this fashion,” said Burton, who hosted the PBS children’s program “Reading Rainbow” from 1983 to 2005.

Burton, who played Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” also claimed PBS is “responsible” for advancing education in the United States.

"Educators across the country, as well as millions of children and adults, know that the programming on PBS has been responsible for significant improvements in education, literacy, math, science and life skills for generations of our children,” he said.

"PBS represents  .00016% of our nation's budget, yet this free resource benefits kids across all economic circumstances,” said Burton.

"Defunding PBS directly punishes the less fortunate by removing this trusted and extraordinary educational resource available to all," he said.

During last Wednesday’s presidential debate, moderator Jim Lehrer, a former anchor for PBS NewsHour, asked Romney where specifically he would cut government spending.

“I'm sorry, Jim, I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS,” Romney said.  “I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I'm not going to -- I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That's number one.”