John McCaslin

"Looks like the official John McCain campaign store replaced their vendor after your story about Vietnam merchandise," writes a high-profile Republican source, who actually points out: "They have since inked a new contract with the same company that handles Barack Obama's campaign store.

"That's right, the company that makes its money bashing Republicans is making money off our Republican."

Inside the Beltway reported in February that the official vendor for the presumptive Republican nominee, Cincinnati-based PC Signs, was forced to apologize to Mr. McCain after sending one of the Arizona senator's sons a McCain for President fleece stamped "Made in Vietnam."

As for Mr. McCain"s now turning, perhaps unknowingly, to Mr. Obama's official campaign manufacturer and supplier — political buttons, T-shirts, bumper stickers and the like — the political blog Pajamas Media reports that it "certainly appears" the Republican's official store is now being run surreptitiously by Ohio-based Tigereye Design, a company that has a long track record of helping Democrats win.

The site has just posted an in-depth story by Steve Gill, a Tennessee attorney, talk show host and political analyst, who says whereas Tigereye CEO Tony Baltes denies any connection to the Web site — which the McCain campaign now designates as its supplier — "there appear to be a remarkable number of connections between the operators of the 'official Obama store' and the 'official McCain store." "

Consider, Mr. Gill points out:

• "Shipping labels ...on McCain campaign materials ordered from show a return address in tiny Greenville, Ohio — the same small town where Tigereye conducts its own manufacturing operations. Is it just a coincidence that the location of two major 'official' presidential campaign paraphernalia operations is in a town of just 14,000 people?"

• "Tigereye is the only company that produces presidential campaign t-shirts with campaign logos that are heat-pressed rather than silk-screened. is producing McCain shirts that are heat-pressed."

• "Campaign buttons sold by Tigereye Design on the 'official' Obama Web site utilize an identical 'button platform,' or blank, as those sold by as the 'official' McCain products."

• "The exact same week that the McCain campaign designated as their 'official store,' Tigereye announced that they were adding 50 new employees to meet the expected demands of their presidential campaign merchandising."

• "The webmaster for Democrat-oriented Tigereye, Chad Groff, owns the cell phone number that was listed under the registration of"

Still 'stealing'

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

Be the first to read John McCaslin's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.