Was George Clooney Cropped Out of the Photo That Became the Famous Barack Obama ‘Hope’ Poster?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about the world of photography and whether they are true or false.

PHOTOGRAPHY URBAN LEGEND: George Clooney was originally in the photo that was used as he basis for the famous Barack Obama “Hope” poster.

During the 2008 campaign, a poster featuring Barack Obama created by Shepard Fairey began to appear. While it had a few different words under it, the most famous one included the word “Hope.”

It became one of the most iconic political posters of all-time and certainly the most iconic one in the 21st Century.

However, the origins of the poster have been the source of some wild intrigue and criminal charges, if you can believe it.

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Was Jonathan Rollins on L.A. Law Based on Barack Obama?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Jonathan Rollins on L.A. Law was based, at least in part, on a young Barack Obama.

In 1987, the hit television series L.A. Law introduced a brand new character, a brilliant, young and charismatic African-American lawyer named Jonathan Rollins, played by Blair Underwood. The character was created by the show’s co-creator, Stephen Bochco.

The character would become a major part of the series, staying on the show for the rest of the series’ run (all the way to the finale in 1994) and the character would become more and more of a central figure as the show went on (as other stars, like Jimmy Smits and Harry Hamlin, left the series).

An interesting facet of Rollins’ back story on the show was that he was the first African-America President of the Harvard Law Review.

This has led people, looking back, to wonder if the character was based, even in part, on former United States President Barack Obama, who was the ACTUAL first African-American President of the Harvard Law Review.

After all, Obama’s history-making success at Harvard was big news at the time, with the “New York Times” even doing an article on the topic, “First Black Elected to Head Harvard’s Law Review.”

So it is certainly feasible that Bochko would hear about it. And it would be pretty cool if true, right? So IS it true?
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Was the West Wing’s Matt Santos Based on Barack Obama?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Congressman Matt Santos was based on Barack Obama.

Jimmy Smits’ Matt Santos’ campaign and ultimate election was the main plot of the last two seasons of the West Wing (and originally, was hopefully going to lead the show into a new Presidential term with a more or less brand new cast)…

In an amazing piece of seemingly life imitating art, the campaign of the charismatic young-ish minority Congressman (Smits) against the veteran Republican whose middle of the road ways endeared him to many Democrats (Alan Alda) seemed to repeat itself when Barack Obama took on (and defeated) John McCain.

Interestingly enough, though, the West Wing producers had contacted Obama’s people years earlier, when Obama was not even yet a Senator.

Jonathan Freedland had a great article about the connection in The Guardian back in early 2008…

For what those West Wing fans stunned by the similarity between the fictitious Matthew Santos and the real-life Barack Obama have not known is that the resemblance is no coincidence. When the West Wing scriptwriters first devised their fictitious presidential candidate in the late summer of 2004, they modelled him in part on a young Illinois politician – not yet even a US senator – by the name of Barack Obama.

“I drew inspiration from him in drawing this character,” West Wing writer and producer Eli Attie told the Guardian. “When I had to write, Obama was just appearing on the national scene. He had done a great speech at the convention [which nominated John Kerry] and people were beginning to talk about him.”

Attie, who served as chief speechwriter to Al Gore during the ill-fated 2000 campaign and who wrote many of the key Santos episodes of the West Wing, put in a call to Obama aide David Axelrod.

“I said, ‘Tell me about this guy Barack Obama.'”

Now here’s where it gets tricky.
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