Few countries have embraced the idea of the United State’s first black president as enthusiastically as Brazil, a country with one of the largest Afro-descendant populations on Earth yet where black faces remain scarce in the political arena. Obama T-shirts are everywhere while chat shows and newspaper columns are filled with talk of the 47-year-old Illinois senator.
Now even Brazil's politicians are lining up for their piece of the pie. Due to a quirk of Brazilian law, candidates are allowed to run under the name of their choice. As a result, at least six Brazilian politicians have officially renamed themselves "Barack Obama" in a bid to get an edge over their rivals in October's municipal elections.
In an interview with UK's Guardian, one of Brazil’s Obama, an IT consultant who is bidding to become Belford Roxo’s first black mayor admits, "In truth it was an accident. I'd been on the television wearing a suit and people thought I looked a bit like him so they started calling me Barack Obama. They'd see me in the street and shout: 'Hey! Barack!" So I decided to register it."
Meanwhile, back in the states, the Sept. 13-15 Gallup Poll Daily tracking update shows John McCain (47%) and Barack Obama (46%) locked in a close contest when registered voters are asked for whom they would vote if the election were held today. The race has been in a statistical dead heat for the last five days, after McCain's lead grew to as large as five percentage points following the Republican National Convention.
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