This report was written by Gerd Margrete Tjeldflåt of the Hearst Newspapers Washington bureau.
During this presidential campaign, more than a few pundits have described Mitt Romney as appearing plastic.
Well, for once, they’re right.
The former Massachusetts governor — all 12 inches of him — has been immortalized in plastic. The Romney doll — er, action figure — joins the foot-sized versions of primary rivals Newt Gingrich (with his shock of white hair) and Rick Santorum (in a gray sweater-vest). The dolls are $49.95 each, and are sold by Connecticut-based HeroBuilders, a company located 22 miles north of Bridgeport in Oxford.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry was the first 2012 candidate to be immortalized as a plastic miniature in January, just weeks before his president campaign came to an end. The president of HeroBuilders, Emil Vicale, says Perry’s unforgettable “oops moment” in a Michigan presidential debate was what made him a marketable action figure.
Vicale notes that his Perry doll comes in two versions: “Casual Rick” and “Business Rick.” You also have a choice between a regular version and a $59.95 talking version, if you would like to listen to him forgetting the third agency of government he wants to get rid of, over and over again.
The flub certainly made the Texas politician a hot topic of conversation, but the Perry doll has never become a hot seller.
“Perry is highly un-fascinating to us up here in the Northeast, and the sales have been very light,” Vicale says.
Still, the dollmaker has high hopes for the new action figures. Unlike Perry, they come in only one version — non-talking. Romney and Gingrich are both dressed in suits, while Santorum, of course, is clad in his sweater-vest.
“Santorum will sell the most because of the goofy sweater,” Vicale predicts. “It will make people buy figures, but it will also stop them from voting for him. We need a president with adult clothing, and goofy sweaters aren’t.”
The Santorum doll also comes in a speaking version, where you get his views on Obama and his phony theology.
HeroBuilders also sells Herman Cain action figures (with or without playmate) and one of Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.
The obvious missing link is the fourth remaining GOP presidential contender, Ron Paul. When asked if he is the next one up, Vicale says he cannot talk about that since HeroBuilders is working for one of Paul’s political action committees.