The Latest Campaign Tool: Handwriting

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Sept. 27 2012 4:49 PM

Now Who Is Making Fun of Sarah Palin?

Democrats reverse course on urgent issue of writing on one’s hand.

Better than a tele-prompter, former vice-presidential candidate and governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.
Sarah Palin shows a few notes on her hand during a speech in 2010.

Photo by Debbie Noda/Modesto Bee/MCT via Getty Images.

Not so long ago, writing on one’s hand was frowned upon in the political arena. In 2010, revelations that Sarah Palin had scribbled crib notes onto the palm of her hand ahead of a Tea Party convention Q&A session resulted in derision and mockery. 

Even President Obama’s then-White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, took a jab at Palin during a briefing as he displayed a grocery list written on his hands and joked, “I wrote down ‘eggs,’ ‘milk,’ and ‘bread’… then I wrote down ‘hope’ and ‘change’ just in case I forgot.” Reporters shared knowing laughter.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs jokingly refers to a list written on his hand.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs jokingly refers to a list written on his hand during a briefing at the White House in 2010.

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

Since then, Obama staffers have evidently reversed course on the issue of writing on one’s hand. Last week, Stephanie Cutter, President Obama’s deputy campaign manager, made hand-writing an official White-House-endorsed action, encouraging Obama supporters to wear their support on their flesh. She wrote in her morning tweet: “There’s a new way to say you’re voting for @BarackObama. Post a photo with #ForAll to join in & commit to vote.”

Democratic politicians followed suit.

David Axelrod, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama.

Twitpic via @davidaxelrod.

Twitpic via @davidaxelrod.

Jim Messina, campaign manager for President Obama

Twitpic via @Messina2012.

Twitpic via @Messina2012.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, Democratic National Committee chairwoman

Twitpic via @DWStweets.

Twitpic via @DWStweets.

@OFA_PA

Twitpic via @OFA_PA

Twitpic via @OFA_PA

But the hand is not a surface to be dominated by Democrats! Republicans countered with hand messages of their own.

Rick Perry, governor of Texas

Twitpic via @GovernorPerry.

Twitpic via @GovernorPerry.

@_TJThompson

Twitpic via @_TJThompson

Twitpic via @_TJThompson.

Now that writing on one’s hands has crossed party lines, Sarah Palin no longer has to commit campaign catchphrases to memory. She can take all the crib notes she needs.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.