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Tiririca, the newest Brazilian congressman, puts U.S. political ads to shame

Tiririca (HO/AFP/Getty Images)

The gang over at the Fix just came up with their fabulous list of the best political ads of the 2010 primary season.

They did a fine job, selecting a couple of the requisite Fred Davis ads (he of the red-eyed sheep fame) and mixing it up with Scott Walker in a Saturn.

However, they failed to nominate the very top ad-maker this year: Tiririca.

If you're asking who Tiririca might be, you're obviously not Brazilian. Tiririca: the clown who could.

Tiririca, which means "grumpy" in Portuguese (his real name is Francisco Silva) is a blond clown, literally. Before running in the Brazilian elections, he had made a name for himself first in a circus and later on television as a comedian.

While the main presidential candidate, Dilma Rousseff, must face a run-off next month after missing out on a majority of votes, Tiririca had no problem getting the vote out. He received more than 1.3 million votes, more than double that of the next-closest candidate, Reuters reported.

Tiririca ran for a congressional seat in Sao Paulo state on the campaign slogan, "It can't get any worse."

It's impossible to choose the best advertisement, so here's a sampling of them:

Loosely translated, the ads say:

"Hello people! I'm here to ask for your vote for federal representative so that I can help the needy. Including my family. If you don't vote for me I'll die!"

"What does a federal representative do? I'm not sure, but if I'm elected, I'll tell you."

"I'm Tiririca. When you press the button on the voting machine, this guy will show up. And this guy is me. Oh, what a beautiful candidate!"

"Are you tired of those cheaters? If you vote for me, I'll be in Brasilia, and I'll be in reality doing the thing that our life, that our Brazil -- our moment, that thing, that we have ... vote for Tiririca, vote for the moron."

But while Tiririca did win the vote, he may not be allowed to serve in the government. Prosecutors may invoke a literacy requirement. If Tiririca cannot pass a reading test, he will not be allowed to serve.

I, however, wouldn't count the clown out.

(A big obrigado to Paulo!)

By Melissa Bell  | October 4, 2010; 12:46 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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I Know the Brazilian people. Despite President Lula da Silva have made great job the last 8 years, the same can´t be said about the congress. People found in him (Tiririca) a good way for protestation, that´s the reason for his incredible polling. Once Tiririca said that he will have to be half man, half clown at the congress.

Posted by: sfs1 | October 4, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

You're wrong, the worst in Brazil is Lula's government, the most corrupt in Brazil's history.

Posted by: mbnorie_66 | October 4, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

moro fora do meu grande paìs hà mais de seis anos e raras sao as vezes que nao sinto saudades. Essa é uma delas. Triste Brasil

Posted by: clebergomes | October 5, 2010 1:58 AM | Report abuse

It was a protest vote. We´re being treated as clowns by our representatives on the congress. So we put a real one there knowing that he will not pass the literacy requeriment. Still is very sad we as a Nation had to do this to draw attention from foreign countries about the corruption going under the rug in my country.The LULA´S goverment has and if Dilma is elected still having the BIGGEST corruption rate ever in my country. I hope any president from any nation in the world refrain themselves of saying LULA IS THE MAN before checking how really this country is doing. LULA is just getting was best left from FERNANDO HENRIQUE CARDOSO´S government THE ECONOMIC PLANO REAL that put our country back on track economicly speaking.
We still having major problems in other areas and CORRUPTION IS THE BIGGEST ONE.
TIRIRICA IS A PROTEST VOTE a stupid way to protest i agree; but THIS IS DEMOCRACY and at the time seemend a good way to protest.

Posted by: martinsrita | October 5, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Bem, amigos da Rede Globo. Falamos ao vivo do TSE. Ministro Lewandowski, neste momento, acaba de botar o grande Tiririca p'ro escanteio. Nao foi por ser unalfabeto, mas sim por ser palmeirense.

Posted by: EliPeyton | October 5, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Bem, amigos da Rede Globo. Falamos ao vivo do TSE. Ministro Lewandowski, neste momento, acaba de botar o grande Tiririca p'ro escanteio. Nao foi por ser unalfabeto, mas sim por ser palmeirense.

Posted by: EliPeyton | October 5, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I really don't understand the reason of such surprise by the election of Tiririca. Every circus needs a clown to be complete. At least, the Chamber of Deputies will make us laugh, instead of cry...

Posted by: SamuelLorenzetti | October 5, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Melissa, the prevalent meaning for the word "tiririca" in Brazil is not "grumpy".
"Tiririca" is the brazilian common name for "Cyperus rotundus", a weed known in English as "nut grass" or "nut sedge", believed to be the most common weed in the world. A sturdy undesired visitor, extremely hard to get rid of. Ask any gardener. By the way, do I see a coincidence here? :-)

Posted by: marcelog93 | October 5, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

We voted a cocaine addict and twice-elected the same drunk to represent us. We are electing a terrorist almost never assume that lesbian and all that is hidden homosexual. A clown will certainly represent our people well in Congress ...

Posted by: renzoav | October 5, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

2 years ago I decided to quit
the beautiful, sunny and "economically promissor" Brazil cause at that time I had fully lost the hope of seeing Brazil becoming a serious country.
The election of Tiririca reaffirms to me that it was the best decision of my life.
By the way, the real mean of Tiririca is Cyperus rotundu
(you can check for instance at

Posted by: leiksbrqc | October 5, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

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