Obama takes first actions in office

New president jokes as he signs first official documents.

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Published January 20, 2009 6:05PM (EST)

Shortly after delivering his inaugural address, President Obama took his first official actions in office. First, he signed a document declaring today a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation. Then he signed off on his cabinet nominations.

After signing off on the first document, Obama carefully put down the pen, folded his hands and dead-panned: "I was told not to swipe the pen, which I often do." He stood up to leave, but was reminded he had more documents to sign. The new president said: "That's true, I guess I have to have a Cabinet, don't I? Yeah, I forgot about that."

As Obama wrote his name on the documents, CNN's Wolf Blitzer provided this commentary: "His penmanship, I must say, is excellent." 

Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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