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   Will the Real George W. Bush Please Write In?

FACT-CHECKING 101:

Will the Real George W. Bush Please Write In?

by Alice Cherbonnier
On August 21, 2000, as the presidential election campaign was heating up, U.S. News & World Report published a story by Paul Bedard in which the writer asked Katie Darden, a handwriting analyst, to review samples from Bush and Gore. Here is the sample of Bush’s writing she used in making her analysis:

Sample#1

Darden concludes, “George W. Bush has an active, curious, probing mind that can quickly size up situations, evaluate the circumstances, and make instant decisions. He is observant and attentive to details, which assists him in having a good memory... Bush is an emotionally responsive individual who feels situations intensely. He is also sensitive about what others think of him, and as a result will probably avoid acts which might invite criticism... Governor Bush does not like having others tell him what to do.”

A year later, in its July 14-16, 2001 online edition of “The Bush Files,” Mother Jones Magazine recalled this analysis in light of Bush’s first nine months in office, and asked, “Any chance of a sample mix-up?”

Well, yes.

The following George W. Bush handwriting sample was used for another analysis that was widely circulated prior to the election, this time by HandwritingUniversity.Com instructors:

Sample#2

Bart Baggett, director of HandwritingUniversity.com, summarized Bush’s traits as follows: Emotionally expressive & empathetic (hard right hand slant); Great Self-esteem & ambition(t-bars crossed at the very top of the stem); Highly Intelligent & mature (sharp points on the m's, connected letters, and good rythym); Enthusiasm (Long t-bar); Generosity (large spaces between words); Blunt, very honest, and even a bit talkative. (No loop on either side of the o and open at top.) His analysis of Gore’s writing, in contrast, was somewhat less positive: “Optimism, Good Self-esteem, Enthusiasm, Persistence, Keeps secrets.”

Anyone notice any differences in these two samples? Let’s add a third sample into the mix; I found it through a Google search on “George W. Bush handwriting analysis,” after wading through about 100 websites that used one or the other of the two samples above for their weighing-in on Bush’s personality traits as reflected in his handwriting. This third sample comes from an English-language website maintained by handwriting analysis fanciers in Iceland. The handwriting was beneath a color souvenir picture of Bush and Cheney at the Republican Convention. Based primarily on the signature on this small sample, the Icelanders attributed to Bush “brilliance of the mind.” They also felt it showed a “character who doesn't give up, who is aggressive and obstinate and follows up his goals up to the point of compulsiveness; the writer eventually get what he wants. This side of Bush, which is very rigid and strict is almost impossible to understand for those who know the generous, helpful, rather witty and also at times sentimental in expression of his feelings and showing care and thoughtfulness and compassion when needed.”

Sample#3

They praised his “idealism and patriotism” and found in him “the idealist behind his strong beliefs, the statesman behind his principles, because it's the main part of his character; humble attitude towards the greatness of the firm fundamentals of belief and its real existence in everyday life. Many, will never ever understand this side of Bush—they simply don't have the background to do so; the concept is far beyond their understanding.”

Without noting the major disparity between the sentence and the signature, the Icelanders say “The sentence above Bush's name speaks of exactness, being precise in every respect, almost to the point of perfection. In its paradox this is the main cause and explanation that Bush may act at times as if he is not informed enough on topics which can lead to some misinterpretation and misconception of his person, which however is swept away by his magic presence....”

Indeed, each of these three samples appears to have been written by someone who could handle an executive position; someone who thinks clearly and logically and expresses himself fluently. (I have been analyzing handwriting for three decades myself—and #2 would get my vote--whoever that person is.)

But, since each sample is quite different from the other two, and the signatures merely approximate one another—we have to wonder, which of these samples actually reflects the real George W. Bush? Or were they all machine-generated using three different handwritings created with font software? Why not? After all, #1 and #2 were part of publicity materials related to fundraising, while #3 is just a bit of political memorabilia.

Yet here we had U.S. News & World Report providing a handwriting analyst with a questionable sample for analysis, on the presumption it was written by Bush; and that analyst, apparently not seeking additional samples for comparison, comes to conclusions that make Bush appear to be a better-qualified presidential candidate. This story was widely circulated; who knows what influence it might have had on voters?

In the nearly two years since these three samples were produced, has anyone out there seen any actual spontaneously generated handwriting of George W. Bush?

There have been times when Bush could have provided such reassuring samples, after all. For example, during that half-hour he spent reading a story about a goat to elementary school students as hijacked planes crashed on September 11, 2001, might he not have written at least a few words on the blackboard?


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This story was published on September 4, 2002.
  
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