Barack Obama was running for office in Brazil this weekend, but he lost. Also on the list of election losers Sunday: Mr. Bean, Batman, Elvis Presley, and Spiderman.
The weird roster of candidate names comes from a collision of two Brazilian traditions: election laws that allow just about anyone to run, and a culture that embraces nicknames wholeheartedly.
So while U.S. President Obama was nowhere near a Brazilian ballot, plenty of sound-alike candidates were: Cosme Barack Obama ran unsuccessfully in Sao Paulo (getting just .01 percent of the vote), and Obama de Colombo got just 600 votes in the southern state of Parana.
Internationally, Brazil's nickname tradition is typically known through soccer. A stocky player on this year's World Cup squad goes by "Hulk"—it's printed on his jersey—and the greatest player in the Brazil's history, and arguably in world history, goes simply by Pele. His given name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento.
But it's a nationwide affair. Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva went by just "Lula," and current President Dilma Rousseff relies just on her first name in public (indeed, one campaign site for her reelection campaign blasted the soccer chant "Ole Ole Ole," inserting "Dilma, Dilma" in the chorus).