6 Secret Code Names Used by First Ladies Over the Years
The Secret Service uses code names for presidents, first ladies and other prominent people and locations. Originally, the code names were used for security purposes when sensitive electronic communications were not routinely encrypted. Today, however, the names simply serve for purposes of brevity, clarity and tradition. Read on for six first ladies' code names, from Pinafore to Rainbow.
1. michelle obama: renaissance
According to Vanity Fair, Michelle Obama chose Renaissance after reading about Jackie Kennedy’s obsession with the Mona Lisa in the magazine's November 2008 issue of Vanity Fair. President Obama's code name was Renegade, while daughters Malia and Sasha were Radiance and Rosebud, respectively.
2. eleanor roosevelt: rover
According to Roosevelt biographer Janet Hubbard-Brown, the Secret Service dubbed Eleanor Roosevelt 'Rover' based on her habit of roaming across the world to care for others.
3. jacqueline kennedy: lace
In his book, Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford, Secret Service Agent Clint Hill explained, "The code names given to the Kennedys all began with the letter 'L'". In reference to Camelot, President Kennedy was Lancer, Jackie was Lace, Caroline was Lyric and JFK Jr. was Lark.
4. lady bird johnson: victoria
How do you come up with a code name for someone whose real name is as unique as Lady Bird? You go with something way less interesting—in Johnson's case, Victoria. Husband Lyndon was Volunteer, while children Lynda and Luci were Velvet and Venus, respectively.
5. betty ford: pinafore
As First Lady, Betty Ford set a precedent as a politically active presidential spouse. Among Secret Service agents, she and husband Gerald went by Pinafore and Passkey, while their children Susan, Michael and Jack received the code names Panda, Professor and Packman.
6. nancy reagan: rainbow
When she died in 2016, Nancy Reagan's Secret Service code name was honored when the Santa Susana High School Choir sang “Over the Rainbow” at her funeral. Husband Ronald was called Rawhide and children Maureen, Michael, Patti, Ron and Doria were Rhyme, Riddler, Ribbon, Reliant and Radiant, respectively.