Presidential thank-you pens

Presidential thank-you pens

President Obama used over 20 different pens to sign the health care legislation:

The pen used to sign historic legislation itself becomes a historical artifact. The more pens a President uses, the more thank-you gifts he can offer to those who helped create that piece of history. The White House often engraves the pens, which are then given as keepsakes to key proponents or supporters of the newly signed legislation. When Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, he reportedly used more than 75 pens.


Not every President goes for the multipen signature, however. President George W. Bush preferred signing bills with only one pen and then offering several unused “gift” pens as souvenirs. Even a piece of legislation as famous as the Homeland Security Act got only one line of ink. When it was over, the President is rumored to have pocketed it.

While I’m an admirer of both tradition and thanks, this seems a bit excessive in both categories.