I don’t like politics. Never have. Now with all this social media and Facebook, you see how many friendships end based on disagreements about it. It’s also baffling how so many people get things wrong about the candidate they support (or hate).

As a kid, I loved looking at collections. The county fair has always had this section where people could bring their collections -- Matchbox cars, Mickey Mouse/Disney, baseball cards, the usual things. Occasionally you’d see political buttons. Those were always fun to look at, and you’d wonder why people would hang on to a Richard Nixon, or an “I Like Ike” badge from decades earlier.

Lately in the paper, I’ve seen lots of photos of politicians autographing signs while on various campaign stops. The last one I saw was Ted Cruz, and that made me wonder...what do people do once their candidate drops out of the primaries? Surely you don’t want to save an 18 x 20 size sign with an autograph on it.

When it comes to politicians that have already been elected, there’s always that dilemma of trying to get them through the mail. Politicians are notorious for using autopens.

As a kid, I sent a letter to Bill Bradley. No, not the LA Bill Bradley, but the senator of New Jersey, who used to play for the New York Knicks. I got back a signed black-and-white 8x10. I have no clue why I didn’t send him a few basketball cards. Often times I did that with the NBA stars I admired, but I think after one incident in which I didn’t get the cards back (something you’re always warned about with autographs in the mail), I just sent a request.

Hillary Clinton came to La Jolla for a book signing. Since I’m not a fan, I didn’t go. I thought about going, figuring a book signed by her would be valuable. I just didn’t want to wait for two hours on that alone. I was happy to find out later, that people lined up at 3 a.m. for the 10 a.m. signing, and those that got there at a reasonable hour, weren’t admitted in.

Autograph Magazine once did a story about a guy that brought a Monica Lewinsky book for Hillary to sign when she was a senator. They slyly put her book jacket over it, and got it signed. I’m guessing that’s worth a pretty penny, despite it being a weasely thing to do.

I did go to a book signing Jimmy Carter did. My stepdad wanted to meet him, and we bought 15 books. Since he always signs “J Carter” I asked him to sign one with his full name, which he did.

Being in media, I’ve met a handful of politicians, but usually don’t ask for their autographs.

Despite what you may feel about Donald Trump, he’s always been a great autograph signer, and he has a nice looking signature. I often see shots of him on the news signing for everyone around him.

A story out of TMZ recently fascinated me. President Obama sent a touching note to an influential teacher he had, wishing him a happy 80th birthday. This was to a teacher at Punahou prep school in Hawaii, and the note talked about “grateful for educators like you that made such a difference in the lives of so many young people -- including me.”

It was written on White House stationary, too.

Reading that would bring a tear to my eye. Instead, it brought a dollar sign to Bill’s eye. The New York post reported that “Moments in Time” is auctioning the letter, and it was around $12,500 the last time I checked.

Now, I understand teachers don’t make the most money, but it’s baffling to think that this guy would sell that. Even if he’s a Republican that hates Obama policies, it’s a nice keepsake.

It made more sense when I read the story about a kid that was a Boy Scout in the ‘60s, and he sent a letter to Neil Armstrong. He was sent an autographed picture and nice letter. I believe it was his grandchildren that were selling the stuff, but at least it had been in the family for decades.

So, if any of you are at various campaign stops, give us the updates on the politicians that are shaking hands, kissing babies, and signing autographs.

Views: 262

Tags: Bill Bradley, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Monica Lewinsky, Neil Armstrong, Ted Cruz

Comment by RedBeard on March 5, 2016 at 2:40pm

I recently obtained Marco Rubio's autograph on a Miami Dolphins mini-helmet at a local rally.  I also purchased Donald Trump's autographed book from Premiere Collectibles for $28 before it jumped up to $100.  I agree with you, it seems like they are easier to get before they get in office.  Great article!

Comment by Dan Moss on March 11, 2016 at 3:48pm

That Hillary Clinton story reminds me of the comedian who got OJ Simpson's autograph a year or so after the trial. OJ signed at the bottom of a folded piece of paper. What he didn't see was the top half of the paper said 'I CONFESS I DID IT'.

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