After more than a year of arduous political debates, and after many seemingly intractable parliamentary stalemates, President Obama finally signed the health care reform bill on March 23, 2010.
One pen, two pens… Obama used 22 pens to sign this epoch-making document—$938 billion in medical insurance bills. However, what is surprising is that President Obama has obsessive-compulsive disorder? Or is the quality of the White House’s pen bad, let him change it?
In fact, the president is following an unwritten tradition in Washington. The use of different pens to sign documents is to demonstrate the dignity of the legislation, which can be traced back to the Roosevelt era. The reason is very simple. The pen that signed the important documents is itself a “relic,” and the White House can give it as a gift to the supporters of the bill. The more pens the president uses, the more “gifts” he sends. In 1964, when Linden Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, he was said to have used 75 pens. One of them was given to Martin Luther King.