POLITICS

Hello Kitty the candidate comes to Washington

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Yeas and Nays,Politics,Nikki Schwab

If you thought Roseanne Barr was a bizarre presidential candidate, how about Hello Kitty?

The beloved Sanrio character has set up her official campaign headquarters at LivingSocial's 918 F St. pop-up space and, starting Thursday and lasting through Election Day, she's opening her doors to Washington. "We came up with this Hello Kitty for President campaign and basically the main goals of the campaign were to celebrate Hello Kitty and her traits of friendship, fun and happiness," explained Sanrio's David Marchi, who's acting as the character's campaign manager. "Her political affiliation is with the Friendship Party, which, again, supports friendship, fun and happiness," Marchi continued. (For the record, she won't actually be appearing on the ballot).

Hints of the campaign have been spotted around town for days, as surrogates on the Friendship Party bus have been handing out Hello Kitty for President swag including yard signs, posters and stickers. The pop-up campaign headquarters is an even bigger version of that. Free to the public, it's part gift store, part fun house, complete with a Hello Kitty claw machine, Hello Kitty Georgetown Cupcakes, a balloon artist and a photo booth with a patriotic backdrop consisting of a pink White House topped with Hello Kitty's trademark bow. Representatives from Sephora will also be giving fans free makeovers that will include "executive eyes" and "very presidential lips."

Collectors can also take advantage of limited edition Hello Kitty stuffed animals and Hello Kitty political art. "We have very hardcore collectors, this stuff is going to go very quickly. It's very, very limited and only available here," Marchi said. Some of the proceeds from the Hello Kitty Pop-Up Headquarters will be going to local charity 826DC, while a portion will assist the Red Cross.

And, as a bonus, Hello Kitty herself will be making appearances. So what does candidate Kitty look like in the flesh? Marchi gave us a hint. "Hello Kitty is actually a girl, we don't refer to her as a cat, she is a person," he told Yeas & Nays. Who knew?

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