SALT LAKE CITY– Michael McGinnis created a stir at the Utah Democratic State Convention by selling rubber coin banks modeled after President Barack Obama’s head.
The coin bank is not an officially licensed product of Obama’s re-election campaign, but McGinnis would like it to be.
“I’m trying to push this toward the Obama people, trying to get this as an actual authorized item for the campaign,” McGinnis said in a telephone interview. “I’m trying to get them passed out, not sold, but given away during the campaign. It’s not going to be easy, I realize, but it’s working. I’m getting everyone from congressmen to senators contacting me.”
McGinnis said he isn’t politically affiliated. He originally created the Obama coin bank to try to help public schools raise money.
“I was a little upset with the Girl Scout cookies I’d been buying for years, the [low] value and stuff, so I got the thought of making these coin banks for schools so they can make money for the classrooms,” McGinnis said.
“All the classrooms are all broke and the teachers are all buying the pencils and paper for their classrooms,” McGinnis continued.
He also wanted to help kids learn to save money.
“I was trying to do a psychological thing with kids to teach them to save, they haven’t (taught children to save money) in a couple generations as far as I can remember,” McGinnis said.
McGinnis sculpted the original Obama coin bank prototype from clay. He said it took a long time to get Obama’s features just right. He didn’t want the coin bank to look insulting to Obama.
McGinnis has the rubber coin banks made in China, but they’re a uniform brown color when they arrive at his location in Coos Bay, Oregon. McGinnis hires portrait painters – many of them elderly women – to paint Obama’s features.
“Some people say it’s an honor and a pleasure to paint this,” McGinnis said. “How can I go wrong with that?”
McGinnis also thinks the Obama coin banks can help Obama’s campaign by placing Obama’s likeness in Americans’ homes.
“(Obama) couldn’t get this kind of exposure in any kind of media,” McGinnis said. “This goes right into people’s homes. It’s exposure that’s invaluable – it’s real personal exposure, to kids especially.”
McGinnis is planning on selling his coin banks at every state’s Democratic convention. He visited Hawaii after Utah’s Democratic convention.
McGinnis said multiple retailers – including Wal-mart – have contacted him to discuss carrying the Obama coin banks in their stores.
In the interest of political fairness, McGinnis is working on a Mitt Romney coin bank and says he’s close to having a final design for it.
McGinnis also offers Obama head trailer ball covers and more, as his website invites: “Cover your balls with Obama” and “Bank with Obama.”
Interested readers can learn more about McGinnis and his Obama doodads on his website: www.prezhead.com.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.