Obama jokes Jack Lew's loopy signature could 'debase our currency' as he makes him official pick for Treasury Secretary
President Barack Obama today formally nominated his chief of staff Jacob 'Jack' Lew as Treasury Secretary and joked that he had considered abandoning the nomination after learning of his illegible signature.
The president was responding to criticism of Lew's scrawl which has been compared to a spring or a curly French fry - and how if it is not changed could become an international embarrassment as the Treasury Secretary's signature always graces the dollar bill.
‘Jack assures me that he is going to work to make at least one letter legible in order not to debase our currency should he be confirmed as secretary of the Treasury,’ Obama said, naming Lew as the man he wants to succeed Timothy Geithner.
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Scrawl: President Obama joked that Jack Lew's loopy signature could devalue the national currency at Lew's nomination in January
Bizarre: The 'childish' signature of Jack Lew, the new Treasury Secretary in the U.S., has raised eyebrows
Money matters? If Lew kept the old signature, it would have looked like this on the dollar bill
Lew, 57, ‘has my complete trust’, Obama said, arguing that the former White House budget director was the best man to help stabilize the US economy, not least because he had helped negotiate bipartisan deals in the 1980s.
‘Jack has the distinction of having worked and succeeded in some of the toughest jobs in Washington and the private sector,’ he said, citing Lew's work as a senior aide to legendary former House Speaker Thomas ‘Tip’ O'Neill and as budget director in the Clinton administration.
‘As a congressional staffer in the 1980s, he helped negotiate the deal between President Reagan and Tip O'Neill to save Social Security. Under President Clinton, he presided over three budget surpluses in a row.
‘So for all the talk out there about deficit reduction, making sure our books are balanced, this is the guy who did it three times,’ as Lew and Geithner stood beside him.
Common problem: Lew wisecracked that he did not know that he shared a 'common challenge with outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, left, who had a similarly bad signature
Old version: Outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner used to have a signature like the one seen here
Currently, the $20 bill features the face of seventh US president Andrew Jackson, who became much maligned due to this treatment of Native Americans
Obama said that a big reason for Lew's ability to get things done in Washington was that he was ‘a low-key guy who prefers to surround himself with policy experts rather than television cameras’ and grandstanding.
‘Over the years he's built a reputation as a master of policy who can work with members of both parties and forge principled compromises. Jack has my complete trust. I know I'm not alone in that."
Speaking after Obama, Lew said he dreamed of ‘making a difference in the world’ as a child being raised Queens, New York, and he had been doing that in the Obama administration.
‘It's really been a privilege to come to work every day as part of a team that's dedicated to building a sound economy and a safer world.’
Lew also joked about his bizarre signature comprised of a series of loops, pictures of which spread virally across the Internet on Wednesday after news broke of his impending nomination.
He said that ‘it was only yesterday that I discovered that we both share a common challenge with penmanship’. Geithner has said he had to modify his own signature to make it readable on the currency.
The Senate is widely expected to confirm Lew as Treasury Secretary after already having confirmed him as budget director in 2010. Some Republicans, however, already are raising concerns that Lew's nomination signals Obama will be unwilling to agree to more deficit reduction.
Lew, 57, was managing director for Citigroup from July 2006 until the end of 2008, when he joined the Obama administration.
A SIGN FOR SORE EYES: WHO DO THESE ODD SIGNATURES BELONG TO?
Can you guess who these other bizarre signatures belong to?
1. This beloved British author is no wiz at signing
2. He's signing here!
3. Does this aggressive, determined signature suggest the monstrous man using the pen?
4. Imagine reading all his plays in this writing
5. This signature adorned many significant documents in the nation's early history
6. Many might expect Captain Jack to have such flamboyant penmanship
Answers: 1. J. K. Rowling; 2. Robert De Niro; 3. Adolf Hitler; 4. William Shakespeare; 5. George Washington; 6. Johnny Depp
VIDEO Obama nominates Lew for Treasury Secretary...
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