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Pen-demonium: Pres. Obama learns to never use same pen twice

By Sitafa Harden     Jan 23, 2009 in Politics
As he settled into his very first days in office newly sworn President Barack Obama made a surprising discovery this week—in the White House, pens matter.
It is a little known fact that when U.S. Presidents sign official documents, such as bills and treaties, they always use special pens.
Time Magazine reports that Obama struggled with the practice of using a different pen for every document he signed at an executive briefing on Wednesday.
"They are very nice pens," the President advised his aides.
Very nice pens, indeed.
U.S. Presidential pens are often uniquely manufactured and engraved so that they can be given away as gifts, usually to someone who was significant in the creation of the bill or who is otherwise symbolically related to the bill.
Other times the president uses several different pens to sign different copies of the same document so there will be enough to go around. They become the treasured keepsakes of the legislature and other people who worked to push the specific issue being signed into law.
The giving of the pen has long been a time-honored tradition of the U.S. presidency. But few recent presidents have used pens as often as the late President Ronald Reagan.
According to Hoover Digest, he wrote over 600 of his own radio speeches and television talks by hand.
Sen. John McCain even used a veto pen given to him by President Reagan as a symbol during his 2008 presidential election bid, most notably vowing to use the prized instrument to cut the pork from the federal budget, ABC News reported.
The Providence Journal reports that the special black lacquer pens used by President Obama to sign his official inauguration documents at the ceremony on Tuesday were provided by Rhode Island’s A.T. Cross Company of Lincoln.
They were engraved with Mr. Obama’s initials and the presidential seal.
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