'Javelin' vs. 'Petrus': GOP candidates' Secret Service code names revealed


Did Mitt Romney get the Secret Service to name him after a 1960s muscle car?


Christopher Ziemnowicz

You may know them as Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. But to their burly Secret Service minders, they are "Javelin" and "Petrus."

That's according to GQ, which claims to have learned the two leading GOP presidential candidates' Secret Service code names from unnamed campaign sources.

Santorum confirmed his call sign in an interview with Fox News last night, explaining that he chose it for his grandfather.

"His name was Pietro," Santorum told the network's Greta Van Susteren, "and I just didn't think Pietro would work. I just – it's a name and I didn't want a name. So I thought Petrus, which is the Latin word for 'Peter' and for 'rock.'"

The Roman Catholic candidate may also have had St. Peter, the first pope, in mind, speculated GQ.

As for Mitt "Javelin" Romney, the magazine suggested his code name could have been inspired by a model of muscle car made by the American Motors Corporation, of which his father George was once president.

"I remember the Javelin," offered Santorum. "It was a very – it was an unusual car. So I think [the name] sort of fits."

Secret Service code names are traditionally assigned by the White House Communications Agency, according to the BBC, but the public figures they designate are sometimes asked to choose their own. They can't be the same as anyone else's, however; and members of the same family conventionally take names beginning with the same letter.

Hence, the Obama family are "Renegade" (Barack), "Renaissance" (Michelle), "Radiance" (Malia) and "Rosebud" (Sasha). George W. Bush was "Trailblazer," his wife Laura "Tempo," and their daughters Barbara and Jenna "Turquoise" and "Twinkle."

Santorum began receiving Secret Service protection at the end of last month, four weeks after Romney was granted it on the basis of his campaign funds and popularity.