What’s Taboo for Senator Obama?

By Nitya

May 9, 2008 7:52am

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller Reports: Sometimes even politicians need a break from the game of politics.

Aboard his 757 airplane en route for five hours from Washington, D.C. to Oregon, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama opted for a new game: Taboo.  Obama was challenged to a press corps versus Obama staff game to pass some in flight time.

Called "the game of unspeakable fun, the Hasbro board game is a regular pastime for journalists traveling on Obama’s plane, trying to pass the time during the rare moments when blackberry service is out of range.  Players have to get their team to guess a secret word without saying the common words usually used to describe it.  (For example, how do you get your team to guess the word ‘birthday’ without saying ‘happy’, ‘anniversary’, ‘candles, ‘presents’, or ‘cake’?)

The competitive senator quickly got into the game, cheering on staff members, handing out high fives to his team, and checking the score religiously after each turn.

Obama led his team to guess words such as "cockatoo (describing it as something that mimics human sounds, and has plumage) and "throw", jokingly suggesting he’d cut off access to the reporter acting as  his Taboo referee.

While Obama was trying to get his staff to guess the word "revolution" he said, "Thomas Jefferson called for this every now and then."

Blank stares from his staff made him rephrase his clues, "Maybe that’s a little too obscure" he admitted laughing and opted to describe it as a song by the Beatles, which his communications director quickly guessed correctly.

When the tables were turned, and Obama was guessing the word, the clue given by an Obama staffer was, "This is where gay people shop."

Obama staffers yelled out different stores and Obama guessed the popular teenage clothing store Abercrombie and Fitch. The answer was Gap.

When it was the press’ turn many of the clues were a little more political in nature, pointed to the campaign they’d been covering for months.

One reporter, trying to get the team to guess the word "California," used Senator Obama as an example, "This is where Senator Obama said his bitter comments," referring to the controversial remarks Obama made at a San Francisco fundraiser where he said small town Pennsylvania voters are bitter, clinging to guns and religion.

"I came back here to get away from this," Obama retorted in the middle of the round, slightly annoyed at the reprise of the controversy, "You dragged me back to these painful memories."

Another reporter, leading the press team to guess the word "white house" said, "This is where Senator Obama wants to live." The correct guesses enlisted a more favorable response from the Senator.

In the end the Obama campaign beat the press in two games, (25-17, and 20-18).

"And you guys are the wordsmiths?" Obama said ribbing the press for their poor showing as he returned to his cabin at the front of the plane.

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