Main | Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Petrus And Javelin

GQ Magazine has learned the code names that the Secret Service is using for GOP candidates. Those with Secret Service protection are allowed to chose their own names if they want to.
According to multiple campaign sources, Mitt Romney elected to call himself "Javelin." And Rick Santorum chose "Petrus." The use of code words to refer to candidates are a throwback to the era when Secret Service and White House Communications Agency communications were not encrypted. The tradition has stuck around. The only real rule the Service has is that the word chosen be comprehensible over the radio and not be similar to someone's else's. That's why code names tend to have two or three strong syllables. It's tempting to associate a candidate's code word with some aspect of their personality. Sometimes this is true and sometimes it is not. "Petrus" is a biblical allusion—as in St. Peter, the first pope. (The Latin name is derived from the Greek word for "rock.") Perhaps "Javelin" is a reference to the '60s muscle car made by American Motors Corporation, the company once run by George Romney.
In 2008 McCain's assigned (not chosen) name was "Phoenix." GQ adds this interesting bit: "President Obama's code name was disclosed shortly after he was given Secret Service protection in 2007: 'Renegade.' Wife Michelle is 'Renaissance.' The First Daughters go by 'Radiance and Rosebud.' And Vice President Joe Biden chose 'Celtic.'" (Tipped by JMG reader Kevin)

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