White Hands For Obama Cutouts A standard tourist attraction in Washington, D.C., is having one's photo taken with a cardboard cutout of the president. One problem, some of those cutouts now have hands that belong to a white person and President Barack Obama's head. Steve Hoagland, vice president of licensing and sales for Advanced Graphics, which made the cardboard cut-outs, talks about what happened.
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White Hands For Obama Cutouts

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White Hands For Obama Cutouts

White Hands For Obama Cutouts

White Hands For Obama Cutouts

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A standard tourist attraction in Washington, D.C., is having one's photo taken with a cardboard cutout of the president. One problem, some of those cutouts now have hands that belong to a white person and President Barack Obama's head. Steve Hoagland, vice president of licensing and sales for Advanced Graphics, which made the cardboard cut-outs, talks about what happened.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Here's in Washington, D.C., a popular pastime for tourists is to pose for a picture next to a life-size cardboard cutout of a smiling U.S. president. Interest in the Obama presidency has been so intense that large cardboard cutouts of his likeness have been popping up well beyond D.C. - at airports in London, on street corners in Africa, in local businesses throughout the country. The cutouts are meant to look so real that the resulting snapshots look like someone hammed(ph) it up with the real commander in chief.

But a recent story on the Root.com Web site points to a slight problem. The headline reads "Black President, White Hands." Steve Hoagland is the vice president of licensing and sales for Advanced Graphics, a company that calls itself the home of cardboard people. And Mr. Hoagland joins me now to explain what this might mean. Welcome to the program, Mr. Hoagland.

Mr. STEVE HOAGLAND (Vice President for Licensing and Sales, Advanced Graphics): Thank you, Michele. I'm glad to be here.

NORRIS: So, what happens if you look closely at that Obama cardboard cutout from the neck down?

Mr. HOAGLAND: In the original one, if you look closely, we have discovered that the hands are not his, although we didn't know that until a couple of weeks ago.

NORRIS: Ah, the hands are not his because they do appear to be slightly lighter in color than his...

Mr. HOAGLAND: Yes, ma'am.

NORRIS: His facial skin tone.

Mr. HOAGLAND: Yes, ma'am.

NORRIS: How did you discover this?

Mr. HOAGLAND: Actually, we discovered it because a retailer called us and said that he had heard that. At which point we pulled the product off the line and have now replaced it with one that we know is our president because the original is of him standing next to Secretary of State Clinton.

NORRIS: So, I just want to scale back. You had no idea - no one noticed that the hands reaching out of that dark suit were white?

Mr. HOAGLAND: Well, because they're not - I mean, I'm Caucasian, and they're not as white as my skin. And we've sold tens of thousands of them and had every nationality purchase them and never had any black people call and say that it wasn't a black person's hands. So, we had no idea.

NORRIS: So help me understand the process and how this could happen - how Barack Obama's head could wind up atop someone else's body in one of these cardboard cutouts.

Mr. HOAGLAND: Well, in this case we didn't have an actual image of him, and so it was Photoshopped onto another image. And oftentimes you're buying images of bodies and you don't even know who the head is because you're in the process of buying that image - that's what you're buying is a body shot or a hand shot. They have models that that's all they do is show their hands or show their feet. And that's what we do in these - often is just buy body doubles. And in this case, it wasn't the correct one.

NORRIS: So it was Barack Obama's head...

Mr. HOAGLAND: Yes, ma'am.

NORRIS: Atop someone else's body. Why not use just a full-size picture of him?

Mr. HOAGLAND: Trying to get a full-size picture of them is very, very hard. Most photography that's taken, people don't take someone from the feet to the top of their head. And so it's hard to not have to Photoshop in feet or whatever.

NORRIS: Did someone fess up to this?

Mr. HOAGLAND: Ah, yes.

NORRIS: And I'm wondering if you know who that person is.

Mr. HOAGLAND: I do.

NORRIS: OK.

(Soundbite of laughter)

NORRIS: And you've talked to that person...

Mr. HOAGLAND: Yes, I am.

NORRIS: OK.

(Soundbite of laughter)

NORRIS: I understand.

Mr. HOAGLAND: More than once.

(Soundbite of laughter)

NORRIS: Well, Mr. Hoagland, thank you so much for speaking with us. It's been a pleasure talking to you.

Mr. HOAGLAND: Thank you. It's my honor.

NORRIS: Steve Hoagland is the vice president of licensing and sales for Advanced Graphics, a company that calls itself the home of cardboard people.

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