Best of Washington: Best Party Trick

By: Elizabeth McNamara


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Photograph by Chris Leaman.

For $39.95, Barack Obama can greet guests at your next party. He’ll stand six-foot-two, flash his dashing smile, and pose for photos. But don’t expect him to answer pressing policy questions: He is, after all, made of cardboard.

Two Washington stores are doing a brisk business selling life-size Obama cutouts.

“In my 28 years of selling political propaganda, I’ve never seen anyone so popular,” says Jim Warlick, owner of Political Americana in DC. “We used to sell a Bush standup, but people would paint a mustache or take pictures choking him. With Obama, nobody’s tried to deface him. Over eight years, we may have sold 100 of Bush. We’ve already sold 1,500 of Obama.”

Marcia Levi, owner of DC’s Chocolate Moose, says customers are buying Obama standups not just for parties but for offices, classrooms, and dorm rooms. Says Levi: “He’s just a comforting guy.”

This article first appeared in the July 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.