Unofficial Obama Gear is Hot Commodity in Denver

If pop culture were to decide this year’s presidential election, Barack Obama would handily win both the Democratic nomination and the general election.On May 2, Debbie Harris and her adult daughter sorted through shirts reading “Barack Star” and “Obama Mama” and “Barackies,” debating whether to buy long-sleeved tees or short. Eventually deciding their candidate of choice would be around through the fall and cooler weather, they plunked down $80 for four shirts, including the long-sleeved “Obama Mama” shirt.

“This is so beautiful,” Harris cooed as she sorted through the shirts created by DenverCrat and sold by Christina Eyre and Julie Rubsam, Obama supporters who are not actually connected to the campaign.

The two friends, both diehard Dems, started selling their Obama shirts, bumper stickers and magnets, as well as other DenverCrat merchandise, at Obama rallies and even the Obama campaign’s state headquarters during the monthly art walk along Santa Fe Drive in Denver. 

A rare batch of official Obama ’08 campaign T-shirts sat ignored on a table farther back in the office.

They’re usually not available, Eyre said.

Besides, Harris said, she is an “Obama Mama.” Why not flaunt it?

“He’s going to change the world,” Harris said. “I mean, not just the United States, but the whole world.”

Rubsam said by attending events and through online sales at www.DenverCrat.us, the pair are selling about 20 items a day and have already sold 600 shirts, with orders coming from as far away as Holland.

Twenty percent of the profits from Obama items are donated to the official campaign, she said. The campaign did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

“That seems to be a really fun thing for people to buy,” Rubsam said.

The T-shirts sell for between $15 and $20, with “Obama Mama” and “DenverCrat” the two most popular items, and most customers buy more than one shirt, Eyre said. But Eyre expects that to change, because a shipment of T-shirts bearing two local artists’ graffiti-style image of Obama has just arrived. 

At the Democrats’ Denver County Convention in February, they literally sold the shirt off their mannequin’s back and ran out of merchandise within an hour.

Eyre admits they’ve had moments of hesitation when ordering the next batch of Obama shirts before each round of Democratic primaries.

“We can be cynical about it or we can choose to believe in it,” she said.

“It’s not because I don’t like Hillary that I’m doing this. I just like him more,” Eyre said.

She occasionally gets requests, sometimes for Hillary gear and once for a button reading “Old White Women for Obama.” Which she made.

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