Dear 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
April 19, 2009 9:19 PM   Subscribe

 
I wonder if there isn't some kind of security issue with the President's hand writing going out into the public arena (unfriendly nations using it to forge orders or whatever). This in turn makes me wonder if it really is The Prez writing these 10 handwritten letters every day. I want to believe it's true that he does; it's nifty if it is... but as I say, I wonder...

Interesting post (despite the NYT registration requirement). Thanks TPS!
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:42 PM on April 19, 2009


I wonder if there isn't some kind of security issue with the President's hand writing going out into the public arena (unfriendly nations using it to forge orders or whatever).

wat
posted by shii at 11:19 PM on April 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know, I really appreciate the humanizing, "outside-the-bubble" aspects of something as simple as ten letters a day from actual people. It's encouraging to see the President includes the human element, as it's important to remember that these statistics and abstract decisions impact real people at the end of the day.

I appreciate someone who takes the time to really go above and beyond and who really seems to genuinely care about the people in this country. It's likely the most down-to-earth President we've seen in a very long time, and even if you might not agree with his policy, it's encouraging to know that he includes even these missives in his consideration.
posted by disillusioned at 11:47 PM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


the most down-to-earth President we've seen in a very long time

FWIW, Harry Truman took the letters he received very seriously.
posted by Rangeboy at 12:10 AM on April 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Effigy2000: uh, the Secret Service can't go out and destroy every document the President ever scribbled on during the many years before he was elected. I'm sure some letters may be dictated for the purpose of saving time, just as the vast majority of letters from the White House aren't read or written by the President at all, but it's just unreasonable to think there's any kind of security issue at play here.
posted by zachlipton at 12:25 AM on April 20, 2009


President of what?
posted by onya at 1:41 AM on April 20, 2009


President of what?

I know there's this occasional "Metafilter is too America-centric" whining, but like all other posts, if you don't like it, just move on. For what it's worth, I'd have been equally interested to read an article about how the Queen of England or the Prime Minister of Canada replies to letters.

Beyond that, the "faux-naivete" thing is just annoying: you know it's the President of the United States, as just about every other major English-speaking nation has a Prime Minister, not a President. Or you could have read the article and known, but I guess looking at the links before commenting has never been in style.
posted by explosion at 4:02 AM on April 20, 2009 [17 favorites]


I still sometimes have to pinch myself. Someone recognizably human is president of the US!

His influence is wide. I heard about his answering handwritten letters from kids faithfully during the campaign. As it happens, in my job I get a few handwritten letters from kids every week inquiring about studying in my department -- sometimes very young kids. I've now taken to writing at least a brief handwritten note in reply to each and every one.

That's the kind of inspiring leadership we've got, for a change, in the US. I'm amazed at all the right wing harpies bitching and moaning about his being too friendly and polite with world leaders with whom we don't agree. I hope that 8 years of his example could actually make the point that being polite is a better way to be secure than being -- as Bush was routinely and without contemplation -- a rude, boorish, inconsiderate pig. I really wonder what went on in the Bush household -- what kind of mother was Barbara, what kind of father George Sr.? -- to produce a son of privilege with the manners of a 5 year old. Obviously enough, President Obama's mother raised him right.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:04 AM on April 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


President of what?

Barack Obama is the President of the United States of America.

Three months in and I still really enjoy saying that.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:04 AM on April 20, 2009 [26 favorites]


The empty mailbox for the dog made me sad. Quick what's the dog's name? (Why isn't it on the mailbox yet?).

I'll bet my letter will receive a paw-print back suckers!
posted by mctsonic at 5:24 AM on April 20, 2009


ThePresidentSuperhero
posted by gman at 5:54 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


President of what?

Do presidents of other countries also live in a place called the White House?

On a less snarky note, I definitely had the same reaction Mr. Powers did upon hearing that President Obama is a smoker. It sucks to see a parent with emphysema smoke him/herself to death. My mom is still alive, but I wouldn't be surprised to get a call saying she's been admitted to the hospital again.

I thought he was going to quit though. Did that not happen?
posted by giraffe at 6:02 AM on April 20, 2009


Interesting post (despite the NYT registration requirement).

Anyone who thinks this post (which consists of just 3 NYT links) is interesting should register with the NYT so they can read interesting NYT content.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:18 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The empty mailbox for the dog made me sad. Quick what's the dog's name? (Why isn't it on the mailbox yet?).

It looks like the boxes aren't personalized for the residents. There's also a box for "First Lady," not Michelle Obama.
posted by donajo at 6:26 AM on April 20, 2009


I always send letters to the White House. Ever since I got a nice letter letter from George Bush congratulating me on my Eagle Scout award, I regularly send updates to the President. I sent a wedding invitation and birth announcements to Dubya and got very nice, frame-worthy letters in response. I look forward to sending the announcement for our impending birth to Washington so that we can have a nice card from President Obama.
posted by ColdChef at 6:47 AM on April 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


I always send letters to the White House.

Were those the ones back in the Fall of '01?
posted by gman at 6:50 AM on April 20, 2009


Also: My oldest sister wrote a letter to Jimmy Carter in 1979 and got a huge packet of White House information from him, including a hand-written note that specifically responded to questions in her note.
posted by ColdChef at 6:52 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and when I sent the wedding invitation to Dubya, the note they wrote back specifically said that they were sorry that they would not be able to attend. I mean, that's just funny. I displayed the letter on a side table at my wedding reception for laughs.
posted by ColdChef at 6:53 AM on April 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also also, I have been inspired by this post to write a letter to Mike Kelleher, the director of the White House Office of Correspondence, to thank him for the great job that he does.
posted by ColdChef at 6:59 AM on April 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Anne Higgins oversaw the correspondence office during part of the Nixon and Ford administrations and all of President Reagan's.

One of Higgins staff, who later became a monk, opened a letter from a man who was struggling financially, Higgins recalled. "He got a letter from a man who hadn't had a steak in, it must have been 20 years." The correspondence office employee looked up the number of a butcher near the man's house, and sent the butcher money from his own pocket for the butcher to send over a steak for the man.

posted by ColdChef at 7:17 AM on April 20, 2009


I sent a wedding invitation and birth announcements to Dubya and got very nice, frame-worthy letters in response.

I'm sorry, I know you've already gone into detail here, but, well, as they say: MOAR.

Maybe my mind is just too jaded.. but you, really, you, took one of your wedding invitations, addressed it to the White House, and sent it on? That's.. it's charming, heartwarming, it's just brilliant on so many levels. Thank you for sharing that!
posted by cavalier at 7:46 AM on April 20, 2009


My summer reading program kids wrote several cute crayon letters to Obama as soon as he was inaugurated and we haven't heard back. Now I know what happened and I'll tell the kids that a staffer in the White House didn't select their letters to be read by Barack Obama and they'll never meet him.
posted by fuq at 8:15 AM on April 20, 2009


What's with the azure paper?
posted by now i'm piste at 8:18 AM on April 20, 2009


This was good. The cynic in me wants to say that, yes, every president in recent times has probably had a "president's mailman", and has been given selected letters. And made thoughtful responses. And, yes, the whole purpose of such an activity is most likely all about appearances. But still...
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 9:10 AM on April 20, 2009


Ever since watching The West Wing, I've been totally fascinated with the minutiae of the Presidency. Great stuff, thanks!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:17 AM on April 20, 2009


Ever since watching The West Wing, I've been totally fascinated with the minutiae of the Presidency.

Even more edifying insights into the operations of the US president can be had by viewing National Geographic's Air Force One (and second part Marine One).
posted by Burhanistan at 9:21 AM on April 20, 2009


Good God, ColdChef. What if he'd shown up?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:37 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Probably would have had to keep the bar cash only. Zing?
posted by cavalier at 10:04 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


People still write letters?
posted by ornate insect at 10:56 AM on April 20, 2009


Good God, ColdChef. What if he'd shown up?

Oh dear. I didn't think about that. No one observes Droit de seigneur anymore, do they?
posted by ColdChef at 11:04 AM on April 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Even more edifying insights into the operations of the US president can be had by viewing National Geographic's Air Force One (and second part Marine One).

That was interesting. They also do one on the Secret Service, which I found really interesting.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:15 AM on April 20, 2009


No one observes Droit de seigneur anymore, do they?

Well, I think Clinton tried to re-instate it...
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:39 AM on April 20, 2009


Did anyone read the scan of Kelleher's daughter's letter? Very cute. I need an "increase of Fencines" (fanciness?) in my office, don't you?

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/20090420kelleher-letter.pdf
posted by tizzie at 1:51 PM on April 20, 2009


My four-year-old, out of the blue, asked to write a letter to the president.

My wife wrote down what he said, then he carefully copied it in red crayon onto typing paper. It took a couple of weeks (even when it's his idea, penmanship doesn't really interest a 4-y.o.), but eventually he was finished: four pages of details about him & our family, and an invitation to come over for lunch in the back yard (fish sticks, french fries, and dessert) after which the President's daughters could play on our swingset.

A photograph of himself in his favorite blue button-down "tie shirt" -- with clip-on red power tie, natch -- was tucked into an envelope and sent off to Washington, D.C., via Registered Mail. He's become quite certain that the President is coming for lunch, telling the other kids that they'll be disinvited if they're not nice to him. (His baby sister is definitely invited, as am I and my wife. Sweet!)

About seven weeks later we got the green postcard back, proving the letter made it. Sadly, no one from the Office Of Protocol has contacted us about when they'll be visiting. :7(
posted by wenestvedt at 9:36 AM on April 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I just remembered that when I was 8, and Nixon resigned, I sent him a condolence card. My parents were lefties and I knew he was bad. I felt sorry for him, though. My mom even helped me write it.

No reply, however. Motherfucker.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:30 AM on April 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


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