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Garden gnome in chief

(The L.A. Times)
by Susan Carpenter

Republicans and Democrats disagree on almost everything these days, but they've found at least some common ground in a 10-inch-tall George W. Bush yard gnome with oversized ears, spurred cowboy boots and a pointy red cap. Giving a thumbs-up to viewers from the front and crossed fingers to those in back, the lawn ornament could be read as mocking the president or promoting him, and its ambiguity has both sides buying.

" The majority of my customers [get] it as a gift for that hard-core Republican or hard-core Democrat," says Sam Girton, creator of the ceramic doppelganger. "That was my approach: It's humorous, no matter what side you're on."

In the week they've been available online (www.bushgnome.com), almost 500 of the $29.95 ceramics have been sold.

Garden gnomes have long been associated with good luck. Whether the Bush gnome will have any effect on November's election is anybody's guess — but the Kerry team might do well to manufacture its own.

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