Monday, February 2, 2009

From CBN News - 'Obamanomics' Yields Big Bucks

By Erick Stakelbeck CBN News January 21, 2009

(Click on image to view video) - From breath mints to T-shirts, to coffee and pasta, President Barack Obama's likeness is on everything. But how much is being made in the booming business?

Ann Hand and her staff have been hard at work. In 20 years of designing jewelry through her business, Ann Hand Designs, she's never experienced anything quite like this.

"I don't think there's any comparison. I've never seen anything like it," she said. "So many people wanting just some memento of this historic day."

Since Barack Obama was elected, Hand has been sending her items all over the world.
"It's amazing to me that people in Singapore and Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, have wanted something to commemorate this President. It's wonderful for America," she added.

Profits from Obama-related merchandise are estimated at $300 million and climbing.

"This is my souvenir. My Barack Obama momento," one tourist said. "I'll take it home and they'll be proud of it back home because everyone loves Barack Obama in Australia."

Larry Bird, a curator at the Smithsonian Museum, says this type of political excitement dates back to George Washington. "Historically I think this fits very closely with what we've seen before," he said. Bird, however, added that campaigns profiting from political items is new. In the past candidates gave away hats or buttons in order to advertise. "They don't really believe in these things as effective media any more," he explained. "It's just as likely if you went to Obama headquarters and asked for a button, they'd be happy to sell you one for $1.00. The same thing with a bumper sticker."

The cost doesn't seem to bother the millions of people wanting their own piece of history.

Although Obama's record-breaking campaign has ended, sales at his official Web site are still going strong. Profits will go to the inauguration, which will cost an estimated $150 million.