UPDATED — 2:39 p.m. ET:
At Jack Lew’s nomination for Treasury secretary, President Barack Obama said that he had never noticed his chief of staff’s loopy signature before yesterday.
At the end of Thursday’s announcement, the president joked, “When this was highlighted yesterday in the press, I considered rescinding my offer to appoint him.”
The president told the country that Lew will follow Sec. Tim Geithner’s lead in changing his signature before signing bills. “Jack assures me that he is going to work to make at least one letter legible in order not to deface our currency should he be confirmed as secretary of the Treasury.”
On Wednesday, NBC News confirmed that current White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew had been nominated to succeed Timothy Geithner as Treasury secretary.
NBC also confirmed that Jack Lew’s signature is a series of looped scribbles that resembles the markings left on a notepad when you can’t seem to get your pen working.
As Treasury secretary, Lew’s signature will be printed on all bills minted during his tenure.
It turns out Sec. Geithner had a similarly illegible signature before being appointed. He however changed it prior to placing his John Hancock on all American currency minted under his watch.
In an interview with Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal, Geithner said, “I had to write something where people could read my name.” Adding, “I didn’t try for elegance. I tried for clarity.”
In the same interview Geithner explained that he was in India for third grade, when he took handwriting class.
We are not sure what Jack Lew’s excuse is for having what Andrea Mitchell said “might be the world’s worst signature.”
It remains to be seen whether Lew will follow Geithner’s lead in reworking his signature, but imagine the signature in its current state on every crisp new dollar bill in America.