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Sore-Loserman: From political parody to charity's windfall

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ERLANGER, Kentucky (CNN) -- When printing company owner John Kanis jokingly came up with his "Sore-Loserman" takeoff on the Gore-Lieberman campaign bumper stickers, he had no idea how well his idea might stick with the voting public.

He also had no idea how long the presidential contest itself would stick around.

But as that contest continues undecided more than three weeks after the election, its longevity has teamed up with Kanis' brainchild to tickle the nation's funny bone while creating a windfall for a Newport, Kentucky, soup kitchen.

Kanis, a Republican who is not bashful about uttering the words, "I voted for George W. Bush," said the novelty bumper sticker now enjoying nationwide attention came up innocently enough, the product of some partisan word play.

"Gore, sore. Lieberman, loserman. It all kind of made sense," Kanis said.

Kanis took the idea first to his legal counsel, who told him that the idea could not be copyrighted but that it should be changed somewhat before it publicly parodied the original design.

So with a little tweaking of the background color and graphics, Kanis began printing stickers that at first glance looked like those distributed by the Gore-Lieberman campaign. But the message is quite different: "Sore-Loserman," the red, white and blue panels proclaim, echoing the sentiment among many people growing tired of the presidential election in which Bush emerged the apparent winner by a narrow and sharply contested margin.

"We originally did these for fun," said Kanis of the stickers, which first were handed out free. But when the first supply ran out, the phone began ringing. And the stickers have only become more popular since the still-undecided election was held November 7.

The stickers are now being sold at $5 each on a Web site belonging to a media company owned by one of Kanis' friends. Largerthanlifegraphics.com offers the stickers, as well as yard signs bearing the same message.

And who benefits from such political profiteering? A local soup kitchen. But which soup kitchen, Kanis is not willing to say.

"We really don't want to mention their name," Kanis said, "because they get federal funding and we're afraid the Democrats might yank their funding if we mention their name."

Just how big the soup kitchen's windfall may be is not exactly known, as no official tally has been made. "We'll have to go to recount and tell you how many we've sold," Kanis said.

CNN Correspondent Daryn Kagan and CNN affiliate WLWT, Cincinnati, Ohio, contributed to this report.


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Monday, December 4, 2000

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