Meet the man who apparently stripped nude in attempt to win a million bucks at a rally for President Obama in Philadelphia on Sunday.
As thousands of people gathered to listen to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden energize voters ahead of next month’s election, James Rodriguez, 24, of Staten Island, decided he wanted to show the world his “ASSets”. He was arrested after running near the stage completely naked.
It was later revealed that Rodriguez’ streaking episode was his attempt to pocket some cash. But now the Staten Island man’s quest to win $1 million by streaking in front of President Obama appears to have backfired.
The prank may be on him. Rodriguez, an unemployed painter, took up a challenge made by an Internet billionaire when he ran through a crowd, naked as a jaybird, as Obama was delivering a speech on Sunday at a rally in Germantown.
Only now the billionaire has added an additional requirement before Rodriguez can collect his loot… and it’s not looking like he’s cutting a check any time soon!
Alki David, a sometime B movie actor and an heir to an immense shipping fortune, is now demanding confirmation from the White House that Obama actually saw Rodriguez dash by in his birthday suit.
The White House has so far refused to comment on what David has called a “prank.” And it’s unlikely that it ever will do so.
“There’s no need or reason for the White House to accommodate the personal desires of another,” said Martha Kumar, a professor at Towson State University in Maryland who specializes in presidential communications.
“In a time when we have 9.6 percent unemployment and the war in Afghanistan, who has time for this kind of nonsense?” she said. “The White House certainly doesn’t.”
Kumar said the only way the White House would acknowledge the stunt would be “inadvertantly.”
In a desperate attempt to get a presidential response, Tuesday, Rodriguez said he would donate $100,000 to Obama’s favorite charity if the president would name one.
Another expert on presidential affairs, Tim Groeling at UCLA, said the stunt doesn’t only detract from Obama’s “the message of the day.”
“If a serious speech turns into an episode of Jackass, that’s corrosive to presidential prestige,” said Groeling, the chairman of Communication Studies Department who specializes in political communications.
“Second, giving the episode more attention actually rewards the bad behavior and makes it more likely that such events will occur – and be covered by journalists,” Groeling said.
David first issued the dare in July. His three requirements at that time was:
1. The jackpot would go to the first person to streak in front of the president with the name of David’s website scrawled across his or her chest.
2. The streaker also had to shout the name of the website six times within presidential earshot, and
3. The stunt had to be recorded on video.
Rodriguez said he completed those requirements and there was no mention of a White House confirmation.
On Monday, David told the Inquirer that he would have a decision on Tuesday. Tuesday came. Tuesday went. Rodriguez’s lawyer said that his client holds “no animosity” towards David and is hopeful he’ll see a big payday.
“That video should confirm everything,” said attorney Chris Miller. “I think everyone is just trying to get on the same page.”
And the rules of the game keep changing….