The Surreal Life of an Obama Impersonator

The Surreal Life of an Obama Impersonator

Louis Ortiz in Washington.(Bronx Obama movie)
Louis Ortiz in Washington (Bronx Obama movie)

(National Journal) – Louis Ortiz watches MSNBC constantly. He’s always voted Democratic. And when he’s walking down the street, he’s often overwhelmed by the attention he gets.

Ortiz lives his life as President Obama. But unlike the president, he doesn’t have a team of advisers briefing him on politics and policy, or an army of Secret Service agents to protect him from hostile crowds. And he votes for Democrats, he told National Journal, because he’s a union man–not the union of university law professors or American presidents, but of phone company employees.

Since 2008, when a friend pointed out his uncanny likeness to the then-presidential contender, Ortiz, an Army veteran and a former Verizon field technician from the Bronx, N.Y., has made a living as an Obama impersonator. From certain angles, Ortiz, who’s Puerto Rican, does bear a striking resemblance to the 44th president. They have similar noses, laugh lines, the same furrowed brow–he even shares those unmistakable ears, which he told National Journal he once considered having surgery on to pin back. That was before Obama hit the national scene, though, and Ortiz made his living on them. But he has undergone surgery to look more like the president, visiting the dentist to close the distinctly un-presidential gap in his front teeth.