USA Today: They might be Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum to you and me, but the GOP presidential candidates are referred to by their code names by the Secret Service agents who protect them.
Romney goes by “Javelin” and Santorum uses “Petrus,” according to an exclusive report in GQ magazine.
The candidates get to pick their code names, which date back to a time when electronic communications weren’t encrypted. Now, the code names — which are to be easily pronounced and understood over the radio– are a matter of tradition.
Santorum said on Fox News last night that he wanted to honor his Italian immigrant grandfather, Pietro, who frequently gets a shout-out in his campaign remarks. But he didn’t think “Pietro” would work, so he went with “Petrus,” which is a Latin name for Peter and derived from the Greek word for “rock.”
GQ surmises that “Javelin” was picked by Romney because it was a car built by American Motors Co. in the 1970s and AMC was run by his father, George. And Romney also frequently sprinkles his remarks with references to his dad.
Newt Gingrich also has Secret Service protection, but no word on what the former House speaker picked as his code name.