Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sombrero Man Campaigns for "Change"

Five years after he disappeared from his regular South Oakland street corner, panhandler Lloyd "Sombrero Man" Hamilton was spotted at a Barack Obama rally.

More than 10,000 people packed the Petersen Events Center on April 21 -- the night before the Pennsylvania Primary Election.

Dressed in his trademark hat and soiled overalls, Sombrero Man managed to snag a front row seat. The Illinois senator later invited the hobo on stage to jangle his cup.

"This guy, this guy right here," Obama said, putting his arm around the unkempt and visibly intoxicated Sombrero Man, "He knows what this country needs. Tell these folks what America needs, my friend!"

After fumbling with the microphone for 30 seconds, Sombrero Man slurred the word, "CHAAAAAANGE!"

His cry was met with thunderous applause from the crowd.

Obama urged the penny-pinching bum to join him on the rest of his campaign tour, and even hinted at a vice presidential nod, but Sombrero Man declined due to a scheduling conflict.

This summer he will replace Kenny Kangaroo as the the official mascot of Kennywood in West Mifflin, Pa.

In December 2007, the old-fashioned theme park was sold to Madrid, Spain-based Parques Reunidos.

"Sombrero Man's image meshes with our new Hispanic aesthetic," says Kennywood spokesman Mark Wagner. "He's festive, he's fun, he's the embodiment of everything we do here! Viva la Kennywood!"