Tom Purcell: Candidates' signature moment
Michelle Dresbold knows more about the presidential candidates than most people.
A handwriting expert — she was among 19 Americans to be accepted into the U.S. Secret Service Advanced Document Training Program — Dresbold has helped resolve some of America's highest-profile crimes, as told in her book “Sex, Lies, and Handwriting” ( michelledresbold.com).
I asked her to analyze the signatures of President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“Obama's overly large signature shows he likes attention and is a bit of an egotist, which is common among public figures,” she said. “He does something unusual with the ‘O' and ‘b' in his last name.”
Whether Obama does it consciously or subconsciously, by intersecting his “O” and his “b,” he forms the Greek letter “phi.”
“Since ancient times, this symbol has represented the golden ratio, the ideal proportion. Obama is determined that things be balanced.”
With the exception of the federal budget.
Dresbold shared another interesting observation: The style Obama uses for his signature is entirely different from his other handwriting.
“Whereas the rest of his handwriting is simple and direct, his signature is very flowery and hard to read. His signature reveals him to be a showman in public, but also shows him to be someone who conceals what he is really thinking.”
Obama may be good at concealing what he is really thinking, but not nearly as good at that as his pals in the media are.
“Obama's regular handwriting also shows him to be very strategic and pragmatic — a tough cookie. He rules his life by what he thinks and believes, not by emotion.”
Which is interesting. Many people think Obama is more pragmatic and aloof than Obama, but Romney's handwriting shows that he is driven by his feelings and desires.
“Romney's signature leans heavily to the right. This reveals a person who is more emotional and works more out of passion and from the heart.”
Though Romney is also very analytical.
“His ‘M' is very pointed and angular. This suggests he is very analytical and likes to investigate and analyze to know the answers. Angular people can be very tough, too.”
And he's goal-oriented.
“His ‘t's' are flying off the stems. This shows that he is always looking for that high, unattainable goal.”
Such as not only becoming president of the United States but fixing the mess we are in?
“In his signature, he makes a cross between his ‘t' and his ‘R.' This means religion and the meaning of life are very important to him. His squashed ‘e' suggests he doesn't always listen to others.”
That is interesting. Romney is perceived to be a good listener, but his handwriting suggests he is not. Dresbold told me Obama's handwriting suggests he is a good listener, but his policies, which remain left of center despite the 2010 elections, show that he is not.
Like Obama's signature, Romney's shows he likes to conceal what he is thinking.
“The way his ‘e' and ‘y' run together shows that he likes to skip over things and be ambiguous. He likes to give himself some wiggle room, so he doesn't make things as clear as they could be.”
Such as his plan to rein in runaway spending, fix the deficit and grow the economy in a manner that placates both the left and right in our highly divided country?
I'm not running for president and even I am wise enough to keep such thoughts to myself.
Unlike Obama, whose handwriting shows that he excels at language and communication, Romney's handwriting shows that he is much better at math.
Though that doesn't appear to be a skill used much in Washington anymore.
In any event, the handwriting of both fellows reveals them to be interesting, intelligent people. Maybe handwriting analysis isn't the best way to judge a candidate.
But it reveals one thing worth noting: Of the two candidates, Romney is more hopeful than Obama.
“Before Obama was president, his handwriting traveled sharply uphill,” says Dresbold. “This means he was upbeat and optimistic. Now, however, his signature has flattened. His optimism is not so great as it once was.”