Origins of Republican candidates’ names: ‘Herman’ is an army man, ‘Michele’ raises a question about god

 One of the few White House hopefuls who is running with the same name that’s on his birth certificate is Herman Cain. According to the website BehindtheName.com, the name “Herman” means “army man.” The Godfather’s Pizza CEO did work in ballistics for the military, but for the U.S. Navy.

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 Michele Bachmann once said that God “called her to run for Congress,” and the name game reveals a divine detail about the Minnesota congresswoman. The name “Michael,” from which “Michele” is derived, apparently means, “Who is like God?” BehindtheName.com states that the question is meant to be rhetorical in order to imply that no one is like God.

 Jon Huntsman’s name also has a biblical beginning. Going with the origin for “Jonathan,” ITK found that the former Utah governor’s first name means “Yahweh has given.” While Huntsman is simply a “Jon,” the name “Jonathan” didn’t become common until after the Protestant Reformation.

 Get ready to gasp — the rest of the Republican candidates, all five of them, don’t campaign using their legal first names. But at least Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich come pretty close to their original identities.

 The Texas congressman simply goes by a shortened version of “Ronald,” which is the Scottish version of “Ragnvaldr” and was introduced by Scandinavian settlers and invaders.

 “Rick” is a nickname for Santorum’s real name of “Richard.” The former Pennsylvania senator’s first name means “brave power.”

 While his name might evoke images of an amphibious creature, “Newt” is actually short for “Newton.” According to the experts at Behind the Name, the former House Speaker’s title is from a surname that was originally derived from a place name meaning “new town” in Old English.

 They might argue that they have very different political views, but Rick Perry and Mitt Romney do have at least one thing in common — they both swapped their first names for their middle names.

 The Texas governor is really James Richard Perry. “James” is the English form of the Late Latin name “Iacomus,” which comes from a form of the Hebrew name “Ya’agov.” 

 Romney’s real first name is Willard, which is derived from the Old English elements “wil,” which means “will or desire,” and “heard,” meaning “brave or hardy.”