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The “I Can Be …” 2012 President Barbie doll features an outfit by designer Chris Benz and is the very first Barbie capable of standing upright; Designer Chriz Benz wears a pin in support of Barbie's candidacy on Apr. 5 in New York.
TODAY staff
updated 4/5/2012 2:02:41 PM ET 2012-04-05T18:02:41

Will Barbie go from Malibu Dreamhouse to the White House?

Everyone’s favorite 11.5-inch fashionista, who currently has more than 130 careers, has thrown her bubble gum-pink hat into the race. Of course, she had some help – specifically, from acclaimed designer and CFDA winner Chris Benz.

Benz is the one who created the pint-size plaything’s pink suit with red, white and blue trim and matching wedge shoes that enable her – for the very first time in 53 years – to support herself upright on her two plastic feet without a stand. No longer will she need the help of countless American girls hoisting her up from the waist! This candidate, America, stands on her own.

What a doll: Barbie's style has come a long way since her 1992 first run for presidency.

Benz, dubbed “The Prince of Color,” said he wanted to play homage to the Barbie dolls he knew and played with at his grandmother’s house in the ’80s – big hair, bright hues, smart suits – along with the signature elements of his own collections, known for colorful and classic American sportswear. Barbie’s Benz outfit, he told TODAY.com, “seems very comfortable but powerful.”

Benz admits fashioning the doll’s newest incarnation wasn’t all that different from his day job. “It’s actually the same process as designing for a real woman. You’re taking into consideration the things she already has and doesn’t have, where she’s going to be going and wearing these things.”

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And the shoes? They’re just a miniature replica miniature of Benz’s classic wedge slingback platforms from his spring 2011 collection. (Thankfully, they’re big enough to hold the magnets necessary to help Barbie stand tall.)

This isn’t the first time Barbie has set her eyes on politics. Her first presidential campaign was actually in 1992, and she’s run every four years since, including in 2002, with help from political pal Elizabeth Dole.

Image: Political Barbie available in multiple ethnicities; shown here in African-American, Asian, and Hispanic
The “I Can Be …” 2012 President Barbie doll is available in multiple ethnicities; shown here in African-American, Asian, and Hispanic.

This time around, however, the plastic pol seems to be taking style more seriously. And Benz thinks he know what President Barbie’s first official act should be.

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“We love the idea that she should paint the White House pink,” Benz told TODAY.com. “It would be a major accomplishment.”

The “I Can Be …” 2012 President Barbie doll, which comes in Caucasian, Hispanic, African-American and Asian ethnicities, will be available for pre-order beginning April 5 at mattelshop.com and at retail stores in August.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

Photos: Barbie through the ages

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  1. Barbie, 1959

    The No. 1 Ponytail Barbie sold for $3 in 1959, when it debuted at the New York Toy Fair. Her full name, so you know, is Barbie Millicent Roberts. She's from Willows, Wisc. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Fashion Designer Barbie, 1960

    Though Barbie's now one of the world's most famous blondes, back in these days she was available as a brunette, too. Here, Fashion Designer Barbie is clutching her portfolio of clothing sketches. Click through to see how her fashion sense takes an interesting turn, starting in the '70s... (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Open Road Barbie, 1961

    This very Katharine Hepburn look suggests Barbie's about to take a ride in a convertible. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Singer Barbie, 1961

    Starting in the '60s, Barbie girls had the choice of a new hair color -- "Titian" -- which was a term for red hair back then. Other jobs, aside from singer, that were available: nurse, ballerina and flight attendant. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Flight Attendant Barbie, 1961

    Resembling the famous Pan Am stewardesses, this mod Barbie is reminiscent of a day when flying was glamorous. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Red Flare Barbie, 1962

    Check out that swing coat! And that helmet of hair! Barbie's voluminous looks aren't such a far cry from today's runways. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Barbie Fashion Queen, 1963

    With this headgear, Barbie looks a little like an escapee from King Tut's tomb. It was in the mid-'60s that the dolls, including Barbie Fashion Queen, started sporting more elaborate hairstyles. This one apparently didn't like her 'do. (Tom Wolfson / Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Career Girl Barbie,1963

    Isn't this what everyone wears to work? Around this time, Barbie started emulating strong women of her era, from Grace Kelly to Jackie Kennedy. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Miss Barbie, 1964

    Yeah, not sure about this cap. But who doesn't love a good ruffle suit? Miss Barbie was the first doll to feature bendable legs and eyes that open and close. She's also one of the early dolls to have molded hair and come with a variety of wigs. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Astronaut Barbie, 1965

    Astronaut Barbie has made several comebacks over the years, but she debuted in the 60s. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Color Magic Barbie, 1966

    This Barbie's hair came in two colors -- Golden Blonde and Midnight -- that changed to Scarlet Flame and Ruby Red, respectively. Also, her packaging converted into a closet. Mattel was really pulling out all the stops here. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Plush Pony Barbie, 1967

    Doesn't get much more mod than this! As the '60s progressed, so did Barbie's go-go style. Even Barbie looks shocked by this fashionable turn of events. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Twist-n-Turn Barbie, 1967

    While everyone else was twisting and shouting, Barbie was actually twisting. Along with a new, younger face (she's had good work done, no?), new eyelashes and shinier hair, Barbie got the ability to actually spin at the waist. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Smasheroo Barbie, 1968

    The shirtdress, the jacket, the hat, the chain belt, the tights and the boots may be a little much when worn all together, but Barbie does her best to pull it off. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Maxi 'N Mini Fashion Barbie. 1970

    If Barbie wants to get noticed, a faux fur-collared shiny turquoise coat is the way to do it. And why not? The '70s have arrived, and things are about to get funky... (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Cher Barbie, 1970s

    Mattel's Cher Barbie, designed in the 70s, is far out. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Live Action Barbie, 1971

    Need we even point out that it's 1971? This Cher-tastic Barbie takes hippie chic to new levels. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Malibu Barbie, 1971

    Oh, Malibu Barbie. Mattel credits "The Brady Bunch" for putting that easy, breezy California lifestyle on the map, providing the cultural inspiration for this L.A. girl's look. The first doll with an open smile that showed sparkling white teeth, Malibu Barbie also featured a serious tan. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Busy Barbie, 1972

    So much to do, so little time! Let's see. There's that phone call to make, those records to listen to, TV to watch and that trip to take that's so short, I only need this tiny suitcase... (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Surgeon Barbie, 1973

    Scrubs have never looked so fashionable. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Olympic Skier Barbie, 1975

    Look at her go! Her Olympic Ski Village was sold separately (as was Gold Medal Ken Skier). (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. African-American Barbie, 1980

    The African-American Barbie doll debuted in 1980, at the same time as the first Hispanic Barbie. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Hispanic Barbie, 1980

    Barbie was introduced in two new ethnicities during the 80s. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Golden Dream Barbie, 1981

    Just as the '70s were meeting the '80s, this Golden Girl captures the intersection of two fashion moments, mixing shiny and poufy into one awesome jumpsuit. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Roller Skating Barbie, 1981

    Who needs a helmet with hair like that? Roller Skating Barbie was ready to live out her own Xanadu dream. The weird thing is, Roller Skating Ken is wearing a similar outfit. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Designer Denim Barbie, 1982

    Brooke Shields had her Calvin Kleins, and Barbie had these fabulous jeans. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Dream Date Barbie, 1983

    It's not the outfit most of us would choose for our first date. But have you SEEN Barbie's boyfriend? Maybe we should reconsider our strategies. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Day to Night Barbie, 1985

    Every working girl needs an outfit like this: The coat came off to reveal an evening ensemble. No word on where she stashed the briefcase. (Tom Wolfson / Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Astronaut Barbie, 1986

    As women flooded the workforce, Mattel gave Barbie the ultimate job -- and sent her to space! It was one giant leap for dollkind. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Barbie and the Rockers, 1986

    The dawn of MTV gave music a new outlet, and a few years later, Barbie got her own band! (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Fashion Barbie, 1988

    The T-shirt tie is one trend that hasn't resurfaced. So there's that to be grateful for. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Air Force Pilot Barbie, 1991

    In 1989, Barbie joined the Army in a uniform that was even approved by the Pentagon. Two years later, Air Force Pilot Barbie tried to contain her hair in that tiny hat, but failed. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Marine Corps Sergeant Barbie, 1992

    With a jaunty cap and white gloves, Barbie was decked out for battle in a pair of black pumps. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Rapper Barbie, 1992

    So this happened. And in the same year that Barbie ran for president! Their outfits were very different. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Totally Hair Barbie, 1992

    The crimping alone must have taken her hours every morning. To date, she's the best-selling doll of all time, with locks measuring a record-breaking 10.5 inches. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Police Officer Barbie, 1993

    This Barbie meant business...but she also liked to have fun. Her original packaging included a sparkly gold dress. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Scuba Diver Barbie, 1994

    Add scuba diving to the long list of Barbie's myriad activities. Where did she find the time? (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Native American Barbie, 1994

    Part of Mattel's 'Dolls of the World' collection, Native American Barbie is complete with feathers and turquoise accessories. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. Firefighter Barbie, 1995

    Complete with a first aid kit, firefighter Barbie debuted in 1995. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Fashion Barbie, 1996

    Barbie's fashion took a funereal turn with this all-black number, at the height of '90s edginess. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Pet Doctor Barbie, 1996

    "Puppy's hurt his leg; kitty's got the flu," said the commercial for this veterinarian Barbie, whose outfit also included pink leggings under that white coat. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Harley Davidson Barbie, 1997

    Just give her a chopper and she's ready to ride! (Tom Wolfson / Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Cool Blue Barbie, 1998

    Remember overalls and blue hair? Barbie does. She had a thumb ring, too. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. Major League Baseball, 1998

    Put them in the game, coach! These women are ready to play, even if they're on competing teams. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. NASCAR Driver, 1998

    Ten years before Danica Patrick's historic Indy Car win in 2008, Mattel boasts, Barbie took to the racetrack in this top-heavy jumpsuit. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. Working Woman, 1999

    Check out the size of that cellphone! Working Woman Barbie had it all! And carried it all, from the looks of it, in that enormous shoulder bag. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. Presidential Candidate, 2004

    What presidential candidate would be without a smart red pantsuit? Hillary Clinton could take a page from Barbie's book: She let her blond locks fly. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. Producer Barbie, 2005

    She's tough and she's not taking no for an answer. Though she looks more like a secret agent than a producer here. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. Cinco de Mayo Barbie, 2007

    In 2007, Mattel commemorated the May 5, 1862 victory of the Mexican army over the French army at the Battle of Puebla with Cinco de Mayo Barbie. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. TV Chef Barbie, 2008

    Look out, Rachael Ray. Barbie's in the kitchen and she's taking her cooking skills to TV! How's that for an upgrade from the toy kitchen of decades past? (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. Computer Engineer Barbie, 2010

    In 1992, a talking Barbie doll made headlines by saying "Math class is tough." By 2010, however, Barbie was wearing a T-shirt printed with a binary code. How's that for coming a long way, baby? (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. News Anchor Barbie, 2010

    This camera-ready Barbie debuted at the New York Toy Fair in 2010. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. China Barbie, 2011

    Part of Barbie's 'Dolls of the World' collection, China Barbie was packaged with a panda, a passport and gold jewelry. (Mattel) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Mattel
    Above: Slideshow (53) Barbie through the ages
  2. Beatrice de Guigne
    Slideshow (15) Barbie and Ken's imagined wedding

Video: New Miss Barbie Venezuela crowned


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