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CAMPAIGN '08: RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE | On the Trail
| FROM THE DEPT. OF SYMBOLOGY

New Obama set piece has a familiar ring to it

June 21, 2008|Kate Linthicum

Barack Obama has styled himself as "the audacity of hope" candidate, but on Friday he unveiled a new campaign seal that his critics say is simply audacious -- not to mention presumptuous.

The symbol -- a blue circle featuring a bald eagle gripping an olive branch in one claw and arrows in the other -- resembles the official seal of the president of the United States. It was on Obama's podium when he spoke to Democratic governors meeting in Chicago.

Also like the presidential seal, Obama's was inscribed with a Latin phrase. In this case it was "Vero Possumus" (translation: Yes, we can).

Republicans ridiculed the symbol.

"This is too serious a contest about too serious of issues for a candidate to be playing make-believe on the trail," said Brian Rogers, a spokesman for presumptive Republican nominee John McCain.

Obama's campaign countered that the seal was just one of many symbols it has used.

"We've used different design elements at various events, and this particular one worked well for this event," said Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan.

Sevugan said he wasn't sure who came up with the design or whether it would be used again. "I'm not aware of any specific plans," he said.

He also hastened to say that McCain's set designs hadn't all been winners. Early this month the McCain campaign was ribbed for putting its candidate before a bright-green background that, bloggers said, made him look sickly on TV.

"I was personally hoping for something lime green," Sevugan said, "but apparently that was taken."

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-- Kate Linthicum

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

THE FIGHT AHEAD

'We know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me: "He's young and inexperienced, and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?" '

-- Barack Obama, from a pool report at a Jacksonville, Fla., reception

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