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German Toymaker Creates A Commemorative Teddy Bear To Honor Angela Merkel


Angela Merkel is leaving office after nearly 16 years as chancellor of Germany, but her fans have something they can hold on to.


ELVIS PRESLEY: (Singing) Oh, baby, let me be your loving teddy bear.

MARTÍNEZ: A German toymaker has created an Angela Merkel teddy bear, complete with a short blond haircut, a crisp red blazer and a beaded necklace.


The teddy bear costs about $200, which is not cheap, but it has sold out. So there have been these political stuffed bears for more than 100 years. In fact, I hadn't known this, but the original teddy bear was named for President Teddy Roosevelt.

HOWARD EHRLICH: Roosevelt was on a trip - hunting trip, actually - in Onward, Miss., November 1, 1902.

MARTÍNEZ: That's Howard Ehrlich of the Theodore Roosevelt Association in Oyster Bay, N.Y.

EHRLICH: The guide on the trip found a baby bear, tied it to a tree. And they said, well, you can shoot this. He said, I can't shoot the bear.

MARTÍNEZ: A famous illustrator, Clifford Berryman, drew a cartoon of Roosevelt refusing to shoot the bear.

EHRLICH: It was published in The Washington Post on November 16, 1902. That went, we would say today, viral, if you will. And a couple in Brooklyn, N.Y., owned a small candy store, and they got a great idea. Why don't we make these stuffed animals and name them after Theodore Roosevelt and call them Teddy's Bear?

KING: So they sent one to President Roosevelt asking for permission to use his name.

EHRLICH: And he wrote back saying, you know, if you want to make these bears, fine. But you'll never make any money using my name.

KING: And then the rest was pretty much history.

MARTÍNEZ: There's been a Hillary Clinton bear wearing a pantsuit, a Donald Trump bear with a swoosh of hair across his forehead, and it just proves that cuddles come in every political stripe. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.