Barack to Jack: Work on Your Handwriting, Dude!

Prez Jokes About Pulling Treasury Gig Over Crazy Signature

Uh-oh Boss: President Obama scolded Jack Lew about his poor handwriting, joking that he nearly decided not to name him treasury secretary after seeing his signature.
getty images
Uh-oh Boss: President Obama scolded Jack Lew about his poor handwriting, joking that he nearly decided not to name him treasury secretary after seeing his signature.

By Reuters

Published January 10, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Fortunately, clear cursive writing is not a prerequisite for promotion to the highest echelons of the U.S. government.

President Barack Obama joked on Thursday that he considered taking back his offer to make White House chief of staff Jack Lew his next Treasury secretary after seeing - thanks to media reports - his loopy, illegible signature.

The Treasury secretary’s signature appears on U.S. currency, a fact that apparently gave Obama pause.

“I had never noticed Jack’s signature, and … when this was highlighted yesterday in the press, I considered rescinding my offer to appoint him,” Obama said to laughter from a crowd of dignitaries who gathered for the announcement of Lew’s promotion at the White House.

“Jack assures me that he is going to work to make at least one letter legible in order not to debase our currency,” Obama said.

Lew’s rolling signature, which consists of several connected loops that do not resemble letters, lit up blogs and other media reports on Wednesday when news broke that his nomination would be formally announced the following day.

The former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget has good company in the bad signature department: the man he would succeed at Treasury, Timothy Geithner.

“I thought I knew you pretty well, but it was only yesterday that I discovered that we both share a common challenge with penmanship,” Lew told Geithner, who appeared with Obama for the announcement.

Geithner has said he had to alter his own signature before having it printed on U.S. currency to make sure that people could tell it was his name.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.