Tourist Shops Making A Killing From Obama Merch

By Miles Bennett   /   Published 12/15/08

2008-12-15 - Obama merchIt's no secret President-elect Barack Obama is more than a politician, he's one of the biggest celebrities in the country. His countless magazine covers are evidence of that.

But, in addition to his status as a political celeb, Obama is also a certified money maker ... for merchandisers.

According to the Associated Press, tourist shops and bootleggers around the country -- including ones around Union Station in D.C. -- are making a killing off all things Obama. Apparel, action figures, mugs, and even jack-in-the-boxes with the new President's face are all hot commodities for business who usually sell other items such as FBI tees.

"Everybody's just Obama crazy. It's madness right now," Johndell McLean, who works at Life on Capitol Hill, told the AP. His store is full of Obama products, including hot sauce, mints and an Obama bobble-head doll. One T-shirt features a U.S. map stamped with the words, "Under New Management."

One thing that isn't selling as well is items promoting the Republican campaign. A sign in the store reads, "All McCain/Palin tee-shirts now $3.75, while they last," reports the AP. Other items such as mugs sell for less than $2, but Obama mugs and T-shirts are selling for more than twice those amounts.

Sales are expected to skyrocket as Inauguration Day nears on January 20th.

Small business owners have been capitalizing on the madness of a new president for years, said the report. One man told the AP that he's got swag from past president's inauguration far in the past

"Historically, Americans have been making and selling commemorative inauguration material, souvenirs, since George Washington's time," said Larry Bird, who curates the campaign collections at the National Museum of American History.

The museum has a button from Washington's inauguration and a banner dating to Thomas Jefferson's swearing-in in 1801 that says "John Adams is No More."