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Politics / POLITICS

What's In A Name?

February 17, 2011

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) recently addressed his well known Google problem, telling Roll Call in an interview that he is well aware of sex columnist Dan Savage's 2003 contest that redefined the word "santorum" as a sexual neologism. It's worth noting that the former senator is not the only politician whose name produces unusual results when searching on the Internet database.

For example, a Google search of the name "Huntsman" brings up images of the "Huntsman spider," an arachnid mostly found in Australia. Or try typing in "Ovide" to search for 2010 New Hampshire Senate candidate Ovide Lamontagne (R). Immediately, a product named Ovide, an FDA approved head lice treatment, is the first result to pop up.

Some politicians are a casualty of coincidence. Take Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), who is unfortunate enough to have the same name as drug lord Frank Lucas. Voters from Oklahoma's 3rd congressional district looking for their congressman's contact information might be frightened after searching for Representative Lucas leads to pictures of the drug kingpin.

And poor Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), whose Internet presence is overshadowed by famed comedian Jerry Lewis. Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) has to compete against legendary singer Al Green.

Still, a politician sharing the same name with another famous individual can sometimes work in his or her favor as in the case of Daniel Webster and Adam Smith. No, not the American statesman and Scottish philosopher, but rather the representatives from Florida and Washington respectively.

Finally, there are those politicians who share their search results with lesser known figures, such as Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), who is overshadowed by comedian Stephen Lynch; and Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), whose namesake is the same as English band Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith.

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