Great Moments In Campaign Journalism

3 comments May 13th, 2008at 07:15am Posted by Eli

This… is a joke, right?

Now that the presidential contest is looking ever more like a two-man race, the country can’t help but marvel: John McCain, once a longshot, wouldn’t lie down. Barack Obama, the new kid, charmed voters. And Hillary Rodham Clinton, an early favorite, has yet to surrender.

But Arlyn J. Imberman would say clues to the nomination fight were in plain sight, every time a candidate wrote a thank-you note, inscribed a memoir or autographed a pair of boxing gloves.

“Obama is very much his writing — fluid, graceful. McCain’s is angular and intense; he’s a pit bull. And look at the perfectionism in Hillary’s — straight up, precise. She is persistent and is not going to give up until she absolutely has to,” said Imberman, a court-certified graphologist based in New York.

Presidential signatures are trademarks that grace everything from historic documents to the souvenir M&M’s boxes handed out on Air Force One. And history suggests penmanship can reflect personality.

Abraham Lincoln set 3 million slaves free with a signature that was as modest and unadorned as he was. Ronald Reagan — the “great communicator” — penned rounded letters that radiated warmth. Jimmy Carter etched an autograph that was aloof and cerebral. And Richard Nixon, who entered the White House with a big, bold R and N, left in deflated disgrace, his signature collapsing as well.

Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart’s 1984 campaign suffered when it was revealed that he had changed his signature several times over the years. “Who is Gary Hart?” his rivals demanded.

“Our handwriting is uniquely ours; an imprint as singular as a fingerprint,” Imberman asserted in a book she recently co-wrote, “Signature for Success” (in which, by the way, she concluded that Bill and Hillary Clinton have a gender role reversal going).


Despite vast policy differences, McCain and Obama have something in common signature-wise — illegibility, which suggests a need for privacy or an aversion to transparency.

In McCain’s case, that desire can be seen further in his H, which is not a loop, but an upward stroke overlapped by a downward one. “There is a lot about John McCain he doesn’t wish to share openly,” said Roger Rubin, a New York graphologist with three decades of experience.

“When you cover a stroke, it means you are hiding something,” Rubin said.

Both men’s signatures also reflect a desire to distance themselves from their fathers, the experts said.

The LA Times couldn’t find anything else to write about?  Really?

(h/t Elliott)

Entry Filed under: Elections,Media


  • 1. Cujo359  |  May 13th, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    The other day, Fox “News” was devoting a five minute segment to a woman who’d been attacked by a pelican. A white girl in trouble who is being attacked by an animal – a Daily Double, as they say at Fox. In the rest of that half hour, there was not a mention of Iraq, Afghanistan, or the economy beyond gas prices.

    In short, no, this isn’t a joke. This is journalism in the early 21st Century in the richest country on Earth.

  • 2. Eli  |  May 14th, 2008 at 1:02 am

    I am eagerly awaiting their in-depth phrenological and astrological analyses. Maybe some tarot and palm readings for good measure.

  • 3. Cujo359  |  May 14th, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    I wouldn’t want to bet on their beating CNN or MSNBC to the punch on those.

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