Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Thursday, 13 November 2008

'Secret' Obama code name revealed

Security agent overlooking Barack Obama
The names are chosen for ease during radio communications

The not-so-secret code names used by the US Secret Service for the president-elect and his family have been published.

Barack Obama is called Renegade, while his wife Michelle is Renaissance, and their daughters Rosebud and Radiance.

They will replace Trailblazer (President George W Bush) and his wife Tempo in the White House on 20 January.

The names are chosen to be easily pronounced and understood when agents use radio communications.

A list of names starting with R was drawn up by the White House Communications Agency, a branch of the military that serves the White House and Secret Service.

Barack Obama and his family

Renegade: Barack Obama, President-elect
Renaissance: Michelle Obama, president-elect's wife
Radiance: Malia Obama, president-elect's daughter
Rosebud: Sasha Obama, president-elect's daughter
Trailblazer: George W Bush, President
Tempo: Laura Bush, First Lady
Rawhide: Ronald Reagan, ex-President
Smurfette: Kareena Gore, ex-vice-president's daughter

When 19-year-old Karenna Gore's father became vice-president in 1993 she had to choose her own name.

In 1997, she wrote: "Ever since four years ago, when I was put on the spot and told 'two syllables' and 'It has to start with an s,' I have been cringing in the back seat when identified as 'Smurfette'."

Al Gore frequently told people his code name was Al Gore because he was so boring. However, the Washington Post reported that he was initially called Sawhorse but eventually became Sundance for unknown reasons.

Vice-President-elect Joe Biden is known as Celtic.

The outgoing president retains his code name as he and his family will continue to have Secret Service protection.

"There's nothing top secret about them," Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren told Associated Press.

"It has no operational security significance any more because of encrypted communication capabilities."

The code names have "nothing to do with security" and more to do with ease in radio communication for those agents whispering into microphones up their sleeves.

The defeated Republican presidential candidate John McCain, a senator from Arizona, is Phoenix, while his wife Cindy is Parasol.

His running mate, Sarah Palin, was Denali - the name of national park in her home state of Alaska, and the natural gas pipeline project there.

Her husband, Todd, the North Slope oil worker, was Driller.

Previous code names have included: Passkey for President Gerald Ford; Rawhide for President Ronald Reagan; Deacon for President Jimmy Carter; and Angler for Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific