Virginia, Nov.28 : These days, if you carry the surname Obama, you can get away with anything.
Ask Nicanor Obama. 28-year-old Nicanor recently found the effectiveness of being identified with US President-elect Barack Obama. The District Police hauled him up for speeding near the Verizon Center.
But on seeing his driver's license, the officer put the citation book away, and said: 'Well, I'm going to let you go because you have the Obama name' ".
Since Election Day, his moniker has sparked goodwill, from nightclub freebies to hearty handshakes from fellow students at the University of the District of Columbia, where he studies political science.
"I'm not related to the president, but I think Obama is a good name to have right now," Nicanor said of his famous last name.
"I signed up for a Harris Teeter card the other day, and the woman was, like, Obama?," said Denise Maye Obama, 19, of Alexandria.
"She said: 'That's a first. Are you related to the president?' Everyone asks if I'm related to the president now. One of these times I'm going to say yes, just for the fun of it," added Denise, a recent graduate of T.C. Williams High School and a freshman at the University of Virginia.
According to Francisca Obama, a graduate student in Human Resources at Strayer University, no one forgets or botches her name any more.
If it's good to be an Obama, it's also exceedingly rare. According to databases, there might be fewer than 20 Obama families in the United States, compared with more than 11,000 Clintons and 60,000 Bushes.
Whitepages.com shows more than 70 Obama listings, but many of those are clunky fakes, including the entry for Hillary C. Obama of Cleveland.
Sharing a presidential name can bring small blessings, according to others who have seen their names rise to the highest office in the land.
"People will remember your name, that's for sure," said Jackie Nixon, a research director at National Public Radio.