January 19th, 2009
07:15 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama: Politician, pop icon - or both?

Hats, buttons and shirts are among the most popular items at the store where Vicki Starcher works.

Hats, buttons and shirts are among the most popular items at the store where Vicki Starcher works.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a framed photo for sale at one of the many souvenir shops in Washington, Barack Obama looks more like a movie star than a politician as he exits a vehicle in a black suit, red tie and sunglasses.

The caption of the image, showcased in the front window of the store, reads, "Presidential Cool."

"He's a man of the people," said Vicki Starcher, who traveled from Norfolk, Virginia, to help set up the temporary store during the inauguration.

"I think the difference is with Obama, he has so much of the younger backing, BET ... and the hip-hop community," co-worker Jasmine Robinson chimed in.

Ebony magazine listed Obama was as one of the "Top 25 Coolest Brothers of All Time," alongside Tupac Shakur, Muhammad Ali, Jay-Z and Marvin Gaye.

The memorabilia decorating the streets of Washington and the images on magazine covers are a symbol that, to much of America, Obama is more than just the next president. He's also cool.

Cool enough to attraction millions to the Capitol; cool enough to have designers release a special line of inaugural items; and cool enough to have stars such as Beyonce, U2 and Stevie Wonder perform at a free concert to kick of the inaugural events.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Tara

    So far he has been more pop icon than politician , without a proven record as a leader.
    Time will tell ........,

    January 19, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. Kevin in Ohio

    He is definitely a pop icon. For now. But wait till he has to deal with the unreasonable and radical ideas of Pelosi and Read.... only then will his true status be evident.

    January 19, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. Scott Tucson

    The BET and Hip Hop crowd is probably expecting a major boost in their welfare checks next month.

    January 19, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  4. MAD

    Both, but I think that's ok.

    January 19, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. Texas Teacher

    The People's President... 🙂

    January 19, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. knowlege

    Scott, that was pretty much racist. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. What an idiot!!!

    January 19, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  7. TCM

    Call him whatever you like; but, he's definitely not presidential material.

    January 19, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  8. RJ

    Pop icon?!?! Seriously?
    This is not some infomercial.
    This is disgusting.
    They already have a TV channel dedicated to hawking some crappy Obama coin and now this crap?

    The brothas is trying to get rich off of selling cheap Obama "memorabilia".
    Like the idiot on CNN this morning trying to sell the Obama "Change" card for $20 a pop. $20!!! Seriously?!?! It's a cheap piece of plastic that means nothing.

    He's the new President of the United States, not some flash in the pan, no talent, hip hop "artist". (I use the term "artist" loosely.)
    Or is he the political equivalent of a one-hit-wonder?
    You make the call.

    January 19, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  9. vic

    He's a respected and admired man.
    His life has not been easy, but, look what he accomplished. He should be an inspiration to all, no matter what color or creed or religious belief.
    He has the "Princess Diana Effect" to people in other countries, but to us he is our new president. A president that we admire and love.
    God Bless him and his administration.
    Thanks again to CNN for the best news on the planet!

    January 19, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |