Top Not-So- Secret Service Codenames

Romney and Santorums join the long list of Secret Service protectees.

ByABC News
March 20, 2012, 1:43 PM

March 21, 2012 -- intro: They might be Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum to American voters, but the GOP presidential candidates go by a different name to the Secret Service agents who protect them.

The Romney and Santorum camps revealed the candidates' Secret Service codenames to GQ magazine on Monday, revealing that Romney goes by "Javelin" while Santorum chose "Petrus."

The not-so-secret codenames are a long-standing tradition within the Secret Service. The names are usually picked by the candidates themselves or by the White House Communications Agency and must be easy to pronounce, as they are still used in radio calls between Secret Service Agents, the New York Daily News reports. Custom also dictates that the codenames of a candidate's family be alliterative.

Santorum told Fox News that his name is a shout-out to his Italian immigrant grandfather, Pietro. Petrus is the Latin root name for Peter, the first pope of the Roman Catholic Church, and is derived from the Greek word for "rock."

GQ speculated that Romney picked "Javelin" because it was a car built by American Motors, a company once run by his father, George Romney.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich also has Secret Service protection, but no word yet on what he has picked as his code name. Ron Paul does not have Secret Service protection and, according to reports, he has not requested it.

In the wake of these recent revelations, ABC rounds up some Secret Service codenames, from 'Rawhide' to Smurfette,' of past presidents, vice-presidents and their families.

quicklist: 1title: 2008: Barack Obama-John McCainurl: 15962814text: The Obama family stuck to alliteration as the general rule of thumb for assigning codenames. President Obama goes by "Renegade" and the first lady is "Renaissance." Their daughters Malia and Sasha are "Radiance" and "Rosebud." Vice President Joe Biden is "Celtic" and wife Jill Biden is "Capri." His opponent in the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton, kept "Evergreen," her codename from husband Bill Clinton's presidency. Bill Clinton's secret monicker was "Eagle."

During the 2008 presidential race, GOP candidate John McCain was "Phoenix," while always well-coiffed wife Cindy Biden was "Parasol." Their younger children were dubbed "Peter Sellers" (Meghan McCain), "Popeye" (John Sidney McCain IV) and "Pebbles" (Bridget McCain). media: 15509930

quicklist: 2title: 2004/2000: George W. Bush-John Kerry-Al Goreurl: 15962814text: Former Texas governor George W. Bush had two codenames, "Tumbler" and "Trailblazer," the former being his codename while his father George Bush ("Timberwolf") was in office. Wife Laura Bush was "Tempo" and daughters Barbara and Jenna Bush were "Turquoise" and "Twinkle." Vice President Dick Cheney was "Angler" (or "Backseat") and wife Lynne Cheney was "Author." Though Cheney's codename derived from his love of fishing, Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman likened the name to the vice president's "behind the scenes agenda," using it as the title for his book on the Cheney vice presidency.

John Kerry, Bush's Democratic opponent in the 2004 presidential race, was "Minuteman" and his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry was "Mahogany."

Former vice-president and 2000 Democratic candidate Al Gore was "Sawhorse" as vice president and "Sundance" as a presidential nominee, while daughter Karenna Gore was called "Smurfette." She wrote in 1997 that she "cringed" every time she was identified by the name, which she chose when her father became vice-president in 1993. His wife Tipper Gore was "Skylark."media: 15964012

quicklist: 3title: The Kennedy Clanurl: 15962814text: Former president John F. Kennedy was "Lancer," fitting for the so-called "Camelot" theme of his administration. His wife Jacqueline Kennedy was "Lace" and their children Caroline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Jr. were "Lyric," and "Lark." His mother Rose Kennedy was "Coppertone." The president's youngest brother, former senator Ted Kennedy, was "Sunburn." media: 15807831

quicklist: 4title: Sarah and Todd Palinurl: 15962814text: The 2008 vice-presidential nominee and original "Mama Grizzly" was known as "Denali," referring to the highest mountain peak in North America that is located in Palin's home state, Alaska. Her husband, Todd Palin, was "Driller," a nod to the 2008 Republican campaign slogan first used by Maryland's former governor Michael Steele, "Drill, baby, drill!" The slogan expresses support for drilling for additional sources of energy and reached a crescendo during an October 2008 debate between vice-presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sarah 15322710

quicklist: 5title: Ronald and Nancy Reagan url: 15962814text: Former president Ronald Reagan went by "Rawhide" to Secret Service Agents, a nod to his love of horses and acting roles in western films. Wife Nancy Reagan was "Rainbow," which was reportedly given to her because of her tendency to wear bright colors, especially red. media: 15398321

quicklist: 6title: Richard and Pat Nixonurl: 15962814text: The 37th president's highly prophetic codename was "Searchlight" and his wife, Pat Nixon, was "Starlight."media: 15902260

quicklist: 7title: Non-Politicosurl: 15962814text: Politicians aren't the only ones granted Secret Service codenames. Frank Sinatra, a close friend of John F. Kennedy, had his own codename, "Napoleon." Actor Antonio Banderas was also recently given a codename during President Obama's fundraising trip to Los Angeles last October after he and wife Melanie Griffith hosted a benefit at their home for the president. Banderas was given the name "Zorro," a nod to his 1998 role in "The Mask of Zorro."

The Secret Service also has codenames for foreign leaders. Pope John Paul II was "Halo," though no codename has been reported for his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. Queen Elizabeth II of England is "Kittyhawk" or "Redfern," and her son Prince Charles is "Unicorn," according to former Secret Service agent Joseph Petro in his book "Standing Next to History: An Agent's Life Inside the Secret Service."media: 15961404