When President Obama named Jack Lew as his pick for Treasury Secretary, he no doubt took his years of experience, both within the government and in finance, into consideration.
Yet one small detail the president seems to have overlooked is Lew’s bizarre signature – a particularly important fact as it could soon be gracing dollar bills across the nation.
Lew, who would replace outgoing secretary Timothy Geithner if he is confirmed into the role, has an almost comedic signature which resembles a spring, an extended slinky or a curly French fry.
If Lew does become Secretary of the Treasury, it will appear on dollar bills and he may well have to take a few tips, as Geithner did, to improve the legibility of his signature.
Geithner admitted he had to switch his scrawl for the role.
‘I think on the dollar bill I had to write something where people could read my name,’ Geithner told NPR’s Marketplace. ‘That’s the rationale. I didn’t try for elegance. I tried for clarity.’
But he explained his questionable first signature by adding: ‘I took handwriting in the third grade in New Delhi, India, so I probably did not get the best instruction on handwriting.’
Obama is expected to name Lew, his White House chief of staff, as the next treasury secretary as early as tomorrow.
Lew, formerly the head of the Office of Budget and Management, has long been considered the leading candidate to replace Geithner, who is stepping down at the end of January.
Bloomberg reported news of the selection on Wednesday citing a ‘person familiar with the process,’ who said that Lew had been offered the post by Obama.
Lew, 57, was managing director for Citigroup from July 2006 until the end of 2008, when he joined the Obama administration.
He was deputy secretary of the U.S. State Department under Hillary Clinton before becoming Obama’s budget chief at the White House one year ago.
Lew had previously served as budget director in the Clinton administration and senior policy adviser to former House Speaker Thomas ‘Tip’ O’Neill, a Republican.
Geithner is the only remaining member of Obama’s first economic team.
He signaled his desire to leave his post in 2011 but was asked to stay on until the end of Obama’s first term.
Lew is positioned to take over the Treasury Department at a critical time when the U.S. risks to default on its debt if Congress does not agree to raise its $16.4 trillion borrowing limit.
The deadline for Congress to take action on the debt ceiling could come as early as February 15.
The other choices the president has announced for top posts in his second term include Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, for secretary of state, former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska, for secretary of defense and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan for CIA director.
Along with Kerry, Hagel and Brennan, Lew’s expected nomination must be confirmed by Congress, which could be difficult to achieve within the limited time frame before Geithner steps down.
Top contenders to replace Lew as chief of staff to Obama include Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Biden and Denis McDonough, a deputy national security adviser, The Washington Post reports.
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