Pres. Obama uses 22 Pens to Sign Healthcare into Law

Type a quick Google search for "Obama healthcare pens" and you will find several articles that talk about the odd Washington tradition in effect. The pens would be used in crafting the signature on a landmark bill, then they would be given out as gifts to the President's supporters as keepsakes. The Washington Post reports the following :

The White House didn't release details about the custom-made pens -- complete with the presidential seal and signature -- but aides to one recipient confirmed (on super-secret background) that they were black and manufactured by Cross, an American company. Obama used similar rolling-ball pens on his first day in office.

This sounds a lot like the pen that he used for his first bill signed as president, which we talked about over a year ago on this blog. They say it's custom made, but it looks like a Cross Townsend Black Lacquer with silver trim rollerball pen that has the Presidential Seal and the President's signature written on the barrel. True, it is custom-ized but not custom made. Another side note is that they mention Cross is an American company, which is true, but all Cross pens are made in China now. We owe China billions of dollars anyway, so what's a few pens between friends?

In the era of AIG, corporate finger-wagging and decrying pork, a lot can be said of a President who buys 22 pens that retail for $130 a pop (not including engraving). A bit excessive or is it called for in this situation? The hope is that these pens are going to end up in the National Archives or a museum. They would commemorate the historical significance of this momentous law being passed. But what if, and I don't really want to get into a political argument here, the whole healthcare overhaul doesn't work? That's an awful lot of expensive pens that end up in a messy desk drawer.

Back to blog