pop quiz

Politicians and Their Strange, Surprising Childhood Nicknames

When we learned last week that Alvin Greene’s nickname in high school was Turtle, we realized (after getting over our initial pangs of guilt for calling him a “probably mentally incapacitated sex pervert”) what a perfect moniker that was for him. Even years later, if you gave us a lineup of 100 politicians and told us to pick the one who was known as Turtle as a teenager, we would have no trouble singling out Alvin Greene. He’s just so … Turtle. But is it always so obvious? We’ve put together a quiz of thirteen nicknames that political figures used to go by when they were kids or teenagers — from Boozy Boy to Bird Legs to Peaches — leaving out anything that was just too easy. (“Sarah Barracuda” ring any bells?) See how many you can figure out.

Sister Frigidaire:

Clinton's high-school paper predicted she would become a nun known as Sister Fridigaire because she seemed "uninterested in sex."


McCain was known as McNasty in high school because he was "rambunctious and combative." In other words, kind of a jerk.

Bird Legs:

"In high school, my friends called me Bird Legs," Romney told the AP in 2007. "And how did I get it? Take a guess."


As odd as it seems now, Petraeus was dubbed Peaches for his "peach-fuzz facial hair" as a high-schooler.


As a child, Bush was called Poppy to (barely) distinguish him from his namesake grandfather, George Herbert Walker, who was known as Pop.


He was known as Rooster in high school "because of a strand of hair on the back of his head which stood up, and because of his competitive, in-your-face attitude."


Bush got the nickname at Phillips Academy "because he had an opinion on everything - and sometimes a tongue sharper than necessary." A wiseass, essentially.


Growing up, everyone knew Reid as Pinky because "when he was born, a cousin said he was pink," according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.


Sharpton told the AP that "in school they called me Spanky," perhaps some kind of allusion to the "Little Rascals" character.

Coyote Bill:

During the presidential campaign, Richardson told the AP his childhood nickname was "Coyote Bill," without elaborating.

Boozy Boy:

He got the nickname as a baby because a friend of the family had just nicknamed their baby Sonny Boy. "And they wanted to have a similar name and how they got Boozy Boy, I don't know," Specter sort of explains.


As a child, Al's "high voice and nervous manner" apparently reminded people of a neighbor's "yapping dog" named Tippy.


Bradley told the AP in 2000 that his nickname was Monster, but he didn't say whether it was because he is freakishly tall.

+ Show Photo Credits
Politicians and Their Strange, Surprising Childhood Nicknames