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Video: First lady irked by Sasha, Malia dolls

updated 2/4/2009 8:20:10 AM ET 2009-02-04T13:20:10

The toy company that makes the popular Beanie Babies is retiring the names "Marvelous Malia" and "Sweet Sasha" from its Ty Girlz collection.

CEO Ty Warner of Oak Brook-based Ty Inc. says in a statement Tuesday that the dolls have been renamed "Marvelous Mariah" and "Sweet Sydney."

Warner says the original names were inspired by what he calls "this historic time in our nation's history," but the dolls weren't intended to bear the likeness of President Barack Obama's daughters.

Warner says Ty is changing the monikers in deference to the Obama family after first lady Michelle Obama was not pleased about the company using her daughters' names.

“We believe it is inappropriate to use young private citizens for marketing purposes,” Ms. Obama’s spokeswoman said on January 26th.

Public figures have a legal right to control how their images are used, but Ty spokeswoman Tania Lundeen would not comment on legal issues or if the company's lawyers had become involved with the dolls.

“I'm not an attorney. I can't answer that,” she said.

The dolls have "real doll hair" and the suggested retail price is $9.99, Lundeen said. The dolls were introduced in early January and a limited supply has been shipped to retailers.

Profits from sales of the original dolls will be donated to charity.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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