The Washington Post

As Obama’s popularity drops, so do sales of his merchandise
The Washington Post

Not that long ago, President Obama was more than a president wading through two wars and a bad economy. He was Superman, clutching a basketball in mid-air and about to slam-dunk, on a sparkly T-shirt available in Union Station for $14.99.

A medallion of his face was airbrushed onto T-shirts, swinging on a gold chain next to another medallion with the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. His family portrait was emblazoned on not-quite-microwave-safe dinner plates, and his essence was somehow captured for a cologne. (Of course, the same was done with Michelle Obama for women.)

Souvenir vendors in Washington say once-thriving sales of the garish merchandise fawning over the president are nowhere near what they were. Sales peaked at the height of Obamamania, between the election and the inauguration, but vendors said that Obama paraphernalia still moved from their shelves through much of 2009.

« The Democratic base is less excited than the Republican base, » Andolina said. « Obama has lost the enthusiasm. » She added: « It’s very typical to be doing poorly at this point. »

The reason the president was selling so well was the support he had from independents — the people, politically active or otherwise, who don’t typically buy campaign T-shirts. The independents, though, have left Obama behind.