Obama gets a new Latin slogan: “Vero Possumus”

June 21, 2008

obama-in-dc.jpgCHICAGO – Barack Obama’s presidential campaign rolled out a new slogan on Friday: “Vero Possumus.”

The Latin phrase roughly translates to his main campaign mantra, “Yes, we can.”

The words made their debut on a seal on the Democratic White House hopeful’s podium as he met with governors from his party in Chicago. The seal resembled the official presidential seal, complete with a picture of the American eagle with “Vero Possumus” inscribed above it.

It helped complete a presidential-looking setting for Obama’s meeting with the governors. In addition to the seal were a row of American flags lined up behind Obama and long blue curtains that also adorned the backdrop of the roundtable meeting.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo: Reuters/Jim Bourg – Barack Obama at a news conference after meeting his foreign policy advisory panel at a hotel in Washington, D.C., on June 18, 2008.

43 comments

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Senator Obama certainly cuts a fine Presidential figure; he is energetic, extremely well-spoken, has proven he is a first class leader and fundraiser, (the best in U.S. history on both counts); he is a man of high integrity, vision, and good character. He cares deeply about our country and all of us; he wants to bring America out of the mire the last 16 years have put us in. I know he will make an outstanding President and Commander-in-Chief.

Sen. Obama is ready for the challenges presented by the ideas and policies of Sen Mccain.

I can hardly wait to hear the two in what promises to be a lively debate, worlds apart from the sleepers that the Obama-Clinton debates delivered. Being so much alike, and with the power they represent including the (still) charismatic charm and political savvy of Pres. Bill Clinton, it’s hard to imagine anyone but Sen Hillary Clinton as the presumptive Democratic nominee’s choice for Vice-President.

So much more would get done so much sooner, in my opinion.

Posted by Ken Schabelski | Report as abusive

In addition to being incredibly silly, I wonder if Obama’s new presidential-like seal is in violation of Federal law?

18 USC 713: Use of likenesses of the great seal of the United States, the seals of the President and Vice President, the seal of the United States Senate, the seal of the United States House of Representatives, and the seal of the United States Congress

Posted by ainnj | Report as abusive

Judging by Obama’s performance in the campaign, Obama would make a better male model for those catalogs advertising men’s clothing than a president.

As long as he smiles and poses, he does fine.

I can’t believe this is the basis on which Americans are willing to elect a president. Simply unbelievable.

Posted by Californian | Report as abusive

If only more “californian”s were like you!
Most seem to have to enjoy having their beliefs spoon fed to them. And its getting that way here in Texas too.. I dislike either party but the lesser of two evils is my only choice. I am of the conservative mind so I prefer to stay as far away from a socialist government and economy as possible. These forms of government work fine in small countries were infrastructure can be shared easily and all can be held accountable for not living up to their potential. But I live in the sticks…if my money goes toward people unwilling to work and toward bridges and highways in Oregon or some place I might visit once ever in my life…well, that’s just silly…that’s why we segmented into states in the first place! Cause States are much better situated to handle the problems within their borders.

Less Federal Power is what the Constitution is all about. Congrats to Oklahoma for their recent assertion of State Power. I sure hope Texas follows suit…we’d make a terrific country, the two of us!

Posted by Karlthomas | Report as abusive

Senator Obama “has proven he is a first class leader”, you say. A first class leader of exactly what. He has had an undistinguished career as a state legislator (voting “present” more often than “yea” or “nay”) and a practically nonexistent career as a U.S. Senator. As for his new slogan all I can say is…brilliant. Nothing says “man of the people” like translating your campaign slogans into Latin.

Posted by Dakota Conservative | Report as abusive

Another fine example of a campaign more occupied by imagery and rhetoric than substantive solutions.

Posted by Got2bkidding | Report as abusive

Obama could be the first president in a long time who is a substantive person, with ideas about how to change the country who also understands the symbolic power of the office of president. Bill Clinton wavered on his core beliefs and certainly didn’t elevate the office. Reagan was almost all symbol with policies that hurt the poor and passed on huge deficits. People should lighten up about Obama and the seal. If Democrats didn’t impeach Bush – tho god knows noone except Nixon deserved it more, Republicans should retire their slash and burn tactics and lay off the flag pin, Michelle nonsense issues – If you want to call someone an elitist for using Latin – all I can say is it’s (or will be) a free country and Yes You Can.

Posted by callmeelitist | Report as abusive

I am disturbed over this “presidental seal” Obama has created for himself. He has told ALL the news outlets vero possumus” on it means yes we can…….AND IT DOES NOT. It means “in truth to have influence or be able” NOT EVEN CLOSE.

“etiam nos can” would be the Latin words for “Yes We Can” – Obama is either a fool and being duped by his staff , the staff are idiots or he is taking the American public for idiots with vero possumus on his seal. My money is on the third one, and those words have some meaning in the muslim world.

Posted by Liz | Report as abusive

It’s unfortunate that, when said, the word ‘possumus’ is so close to ‘posthumous’ – something the campaign may not have considered. No point in tempting fate, is there?

Posted by David Cunard | Report as abusive

You all need to see a real breakdown of the meaning of each item in this damning farce of a seal, versus that of the standard SEAL of the President of the United STates of AMERICA, where each item in it has real meaning in our American History which is denied by liberals across this nation. You are being duped by a clever beast!

Posted by JFTousignant | Report as abusive

Is the arrogant, condescending, snobbish Barack Hussein Obama in violation of Federal Law??
18 USC Sec 713…….
(a) Whoever knowingly displays any printed or other likeness of the great seal of the United Sates, or of the seals of the President or the Vice President of the United States,…………….shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

Posted by mark | Report as abusive

In response to ‘mark’ (and everyone else crying for Obama to be prosecuted), you’re leaving out a crucial element of the violation of the Code:

‘Whoever knowingly displays… for the purpose of conveying… a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States or by any department… shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.’

Obviously, Obama has used this seal not for the purpose of conveying Government sponsorship or approval. He is not using any Government funds for his campaign which is completely voter-funded. It is well-known that Obama is not (at least not yet) is the US President but that he is the Democratic candidate for that position. Stop crying. There is no case here.

That said, legalities aside, he may have done better sticking with the logos and imagery he had used in his campaign thus far. But that’s no crime.

Posted by legal blogger | Report as abusive

First of all, does Mr. Obama actually understand that he is running for the Office of President of the United States of America and not the office of High school prom-king?

I believe that Mr. Obama very likely HAS violated Federal law with this “seal”. However, prosecuting him would be next to impossible, especially for the current administration (“vast right-wing conspiracy” and all of that). “Politcal Correctness” would not allow it. Any attempt to prosecute would most likely spawn considerable civil unrest. I guess trampling Federal law under foot for the sake of getting elected really is “Change we can believe in”.

In response to the post by legal blogger: please read part (b) of the law, I suspect that it is a bit more difficult to use any spin on Mr. Obama’s behalf to avoid this:

TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 33 > § 713
(b) Whoever, except as authorized under regulations promulgated by the President and published in the Federal Register, knowingly manufactures, reproduces, sells, or purchases for resale, either separately or appended to any article manufactured or sold, any likeness of the seals of the President or Vice President, or any substantial part thereof, except for manufacture or sale of the article for the official use of the Government of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

Posted by antipaladin | Report as abusive

I think this is ridiculous, everyone should read the “Left Behind” series of books, I compare Obama to Carpathia.. HHHMMM very interesting…

Posted by Pamela | Report as abusive

Obama Builder … Can We Fix It?
Obama Builder … Vero Possumus!

This is the level at which we view Obama’s cartoonish “presidential” image. The Obama problem will fix itself eventually … he was set up to be president, and he has set himself up to fail as president. It’s all inevitable at this point.

Posted by NJPuma | Report as abusive

A man with no substance, no accomplishments to speak of, ready to go back to the socialist ideas of the failed Jimmy Carter, wealth redistribution

Posted by Johnny | Report as abusive

Can you say, “cult of personality”?

How about arrogant, pretentious, presumptive, hubris?

Obama presents the idea of change well but doesn’t have any structure to the change other than higher taxes to pay for it. Unfortunately, the 50%+ that currently do not pay any tax will vote him in. Then the other 10% of the wealthiest will move to another country and the remaining 30% which is middle America will shoulder the cost for the masses. Only in American can you work hard all your life and lose it to politics!

Posted by jb | Report as abusive

Nina K calls Barrack a man of integrity. Was that evaluation offered before or after he admitted he was lying when he pledged to stay with public financing in his campaign?

Posted by BillT | Report as abusive

I think Obama has the potential to be a great president. The “presidential seal” – especially the “Latin” motto was a really stupid thing to do however. I hope they can just say “Ok, that was stupid” and not fall into the typical campaign trap of trying to spin it into something other than “oops, sorry”

Posted by PaulB | Report as abusive

The seal is just plain silly. This guy is so high school!

Posted by dank | Report as abusive

lol if he’s in violation of some code, there’s a couple million ramones t-shirts bearing this logo that are doing the same thing

http://www.myteespot.com/images/Images_d  /DSCF1992.jpg

not to mention an unfathomable amount of broken flag codes when you get into nitpicking of american flag bikinis, fold out chairs (essentially “sitting on the flag”) and napkins (THAT YOU WIPE YOUR MOUTH WITH)

Posted by mark | Report as abusive

As a moderate, I’m trying not to overreact, but making a total mockery out of the Presidential Seal is in incredibly poor taste. The misuse of the bald eagle, now sporting the Obama “O” instead of the shield of freedom, is offensive. The “vero possumus” — in official looking copperplate font — is injecting a stale campaign phrase in the place of “e pluribus unum” or “in God we trust.” The very idea! Besides, the true translation is actually “truly, he is a possum.” (just kidding). I can’t believe that some more moderate advisor didn’t counsel against this sophamoric mock-up. It is presumptuous of Senator Obama to appear in front of such a perverted image. That’s “perverted” in the sense of “having an intended meaning altered or misrepresented.” This new “seal” should hit the trash heap quickly.

Posted by Joseph Whitley | Report as abusive

Upon seeing the new Obama logo, (I can’t reveal my White House sources), but President Bush, Vice President Chaney and Senator McCain were saying these things: McCain: “What does Vero Possumus mean? What do O’Possums have to do with anything?” Chaney: That’s clearly some talk that only other Muslims could understand. He’s dangerous. Very dangerous.” W: I know. Rove called me to say that is Latin. I thought he was Black, I never knew he was Latino. But, I never took no Latin, so I wouldn’t know how to talk Latino.

Posted by jack etzel | Report as abusive

The “Cult of Obama” continues. The only thing unique about Obama is his skin color. He is Jimmy Carter with a better tan. The cult of personality his handlers are developing is a very clever way of preventing his positions from being known. Honestly, a campaign seal? How about answering real questions?

Posted by Malik M | Report as abusive

It’s all about him…freedom,liberty
is only understood by this man. Not a
party, not a country…but this man.
I didn’t fight for him, and he never fought.
But he assumes the right to lead the free world.
Kiss my grits.

Posted by Central Highlander | Report as abusive

I like the way Malik M puts it “Cult of Obama”. It’s hardly a cult, time and time again history has shown that when people are brought together in the pursuit of a common cause or goal an amount of unimaginable strength is produced. Sen. Obama true to his message just tapped into that strength. In our everyday lives people say yes we can; yes I can, to all things that seem to have eluded them or obstacles that seemed insurmountable. Why not bring that into the agenda as a Nation and create a vision that we can all conceptualize. Whether the mantra is Yes We Can or Vero Possumus (to have influence or be able), the idea is that as an individual or a nation you can influence immediate situations to cause a turn around.

Posted by Temi | Report as abusive

Ah yes the famous seal! I’m sure we’ve all heard those common adages that suggest that we can do things that prepare our mental state for our next hurdle. Look the part, dress for success, fake it till you make it, whatever. My point is that too long Sen. Obama has been seen as timid, not confident, and personally it’s good to see him come into his own identity. For his supporters, hardly is a seal a presumptuousness or overconfidence that he will be president it’s the signal of a new phase in his race for presidency. It’s a symbol of tenacity, intensity with which he pursues the vision of being president. It is the Audacity of his hope, whether people choose to recognize that or not.

Posted by Temi | Report as abusive

Do a google search on “ACORN” (an horrific organization) then do a Google search on “Obama and ACORN”. He is not what he is promising to be. Nay, he is going to really kill this country. Forget race….look who he lines up with and then judge him. You are who you hang out with. I would rather have my pug be the president.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

How much money did he spend for that elaborate logo?
It is so striking. Vero Posummus: “Yes, Everybody can certainly become a possum”. Would you like freedon fries with your possum’s order?
He probably wants to use that mantra by swinging his wand to get rid of other candidates by saying “Expecto Patronum!!!!!!!!!!” instead.

Posted by Theresa | Report as abusive

McCain’s latin motto is “Drinkus More Beerimus”.

Posted by sheila | Report as abusive

It is unbelieveable that the democratic leadership chose Obama to represent us. You may think the people voted for Obama…but Obama lost. The Rules and Bylaws Committee got him elected by their decision to award Obama votes from Michigan that were not earned. A new concept in American Politics…the unearned vote! He VOLUNTARILY (for those idiots out there who do not understand the meaning of voluntary – it means his actions of his own accord)removed his name from the Michigan ballot. He did not receive a single vote from that election. Now look what we are subjected to. A man who is so brash as to think it is okay to make a mockery of the Presidential Seal. A man who thinks he already is President. He is a PUPPET, without a thought of his own in his head. He does what he’s told like a little wind-up toy and as soon as there is a suggestion that something is amiss with a decision he makes – he reverses it. He is a man without a backbone, he is a man who has many accusers. There is a nugget of truth about the rumors that have circulated…they have been blown out of proportion in most cases, however there is truth at the base of them. I was a Hillary supporter – and when her own Party abandoned her, I had hoped she would run as an Independent – and take her 18 million votes with her. It appears that is not going to happen. So I am forced to vote for the lesser of two evils and so in 2008 my vote will be cast for Sen. John McCain. Although I do not agree fully with his politics, I believe he has proven himself a man of honor, integrity, and fairness. He will not be another Bush term. He will be a force to deal with and will protect our Nation much as he had when he served this Country with distinction, honor and bravery!

‘Vero Possumus’, eh? This does NOT translate to “Yes we can”, as purported. What an idiot…. A small man playing at being president.

Maybe he really is trying to tell us is “In Truth, I’m a ‘Possum.” He’s laying low and pretending to be a moderate until he can walk away with the Presidency as the far left Liberal his record indicates.

Perhaps he’s signaling that he wants to join “Possum Lodge”; ala the Red Green Show. Their motto would make more sense for Barack Hussein Mohammed Obama: Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati — “When all else fails, play dead.”
Invictus Maneo

Posted by Invictus Maneo | Report as abusive

Vero Possumus translated means “We are possums, USA. Roll over and play dead for Barack!”

WE ARE NOT POSSUMS

Posted by Robby Gordo | Report as abusive

WASN’T THERE A CARTOON STRIP ABOUT POSSUMS? POGO? THAT’LL BE A GOLD MINE OF JOKES!

THE POSSUM PRESIDENT!

TO BE A POSSUM OR NOT A POSSUM? THAT IS THE POSSIBILITY, MY DEAR AMERICAN POSSUMS! VERO, POSSUMUS!

Anyone who wants to prosecute Obama for a slightly silly, obviously unofficial, reinterpretation of the presidential seal is freakin nutzoid.

And by the way, to the person who translated “vero possumus ” as “in truth to have influence or be able”, you totally failed Latin.

O Liz, non latine loqui potes.

Posted by Gangsta J | Report as abusive

Barack Obama is a portentious, arrogant, high-brow elitist who went to Harvard, goes to parties and drinks martinis while smoking cigarettes, and thinks that he will be president and pander to the middle class. LAWLZZ

I still can’t believe how Barack Obama can be interpreted as anything less than American. He is not rich, he got into great schools based on his academic merits, he is of mixed race and a first generation American on his father’s side.

He does not appeal to white or black America because of his exterior (he is of mixed race). He is not a trust fund baby or an elitist by any stretch of the imagination so it confounds me when people actually portray him as an elite, arrogant, rich kid. He is likable because he is fallible, he is believable because he is inexperienced, and he is going to be president because America wants an end to the tyranny of an elite political system that no longer listens to the electorate.

This election marks the beginning of a new age in the Republic where citizens will take back our freedom and dismantle the corrupt engine that is weakening the fabric of our democracy. The mixed racial kid with the big brain and the ability to excel academically in the ivy league is part of the solution, not the problem and any rhetoric contrary to that fact is just nonsense.

Posted by Great American | Report as abusive

We have here the combination of the worst qualities of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton with a touch of Bush arrogance. Obama is immersed in the sense of inevitablity, but so was Hillary just a year ago. Hopefully these antics will reveal that Obama is an empty shell to those who have seen him as a political messiah. From John Kennedy to this, how pathetic for the Democrats and the U.S.

Vero Possumus doesn’t mean what Obama says it means. To replace this motto and to give him a new name, I would substitute the Latin phrase “Veto Possumus”, which means Veto the Possum. I would suggest The Possum as his new nickname. He has a grin resembling that of a Possum eating excrement. These young androids who are going to vote for him so that he can “change” things are going to have a rude awakening, similar to those who followed Hitler, and later found out that Germany suffered as a result.
Veto the Possum, or Veto Barack Oppossum!

Posted by J. T. Cooper | Report as abusive

I am utterly amazed by the petty bickering and nonsense that you guys (well, not all of you, of course, but some of you above) engage in about this issue; and even more sadly, the way that you seem to think it normal to display such brutally childish and defensive, almost bitchy points of view about an election. It is a great shame for America that it is now, in the eyes of most of the developed world (not to mention a lot of the under-developed world) is regarded as a rather narrow-minded, nationalist, ignorant nation. It is those few, loud, catty, defensive voices that soil the reputation of the rest of the land, for they are the loudest and most whiny.

Posted by John Cole Adams | Report as abusive

Unlike Mr. Adams (August 6th comment) I found the exchange to have been refreshingly frank, and I am heartened by this evidence that the American public are not to be taken in by flash, arrogance and socialist platitudes. Regarding the perceptions of other nations, the concept of sovereignity is generally lost upon globalists. We should just proceed do what is right, and let them think what they may. I only hope that this forum is still available to us if the Democrats get into office and push for reimposition of the “Fairness” Doctrine and other restrictions which curtail free exchange of ideas. God bless the USA.

Posted by Tolmie Erik Wachter | Report as abusive

[...] and in the comments section below it I saw this and wanted to laugh and cry at the same time…. Front Row Washington