'Asses of Evil' buttons top seller at Iowa Dem campaign stops
Just as legions of pollsters, campaign consultants and student volunteers are building their political careers in the cold Iowa snow, a smaller group of entrepreneurs is cashing in on this weeks caucuses.
The Hill newspaper tells of one such creative soul, 35-year-old Jeremy Beggun, who sells buttons and T-shirts outside of campaign events of both candidates' parties over the last several months as candidates have spent substantial time in the crucial early voting state.
Among the most popular items at Democratic rallies are buttons bidding President Bush "good riddance," and a button branding Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld the "Asses of Evil." Hill reporter Jim Snyder is much more modest, describing the button as simply bearing an "off-color paraphrase of the famous 'Axis of Evil' line."
“We’re not offering ‘A---- for Evil T-shirts. They’d sell, though,” Beggun says, according to the Capitol Hill newspaper.
Along with the anti-Bush gear, Beggun sells more traditional buttons and T-shirts bearing the candidates' pictures and slogans. Although they don't see any of the money potential supporters spend on the souvenirs, the candidates seem to welcome Beggun because he is essentially providing free advertising.
Beggun drives 300 to 500 miles across Iowa every day, regardless of lousy weather, and he told the paper he's on a first name basis with several candidates. Elizabeth Edwards is a favorite among the political candidates and spouses Beggun trails, he tells Snyder.
“One wave from Elizabeth and sales go up 5,000 percent,” Beggun says.