On Tuesday's Newsroom, CNN correspondent Ed Henry raved about one congressman's collection of pens that were used to sign Medicare and ObamaCare into law. Henry responded gushingly to how Rep. John Dingell received one of the pens used by President Obama on Tuesday, and how he also has one of President Johnson's pens from the 1965 signing: "So now John Dingell has two of the most amazing pens
" [audio clip available here
Henry brought up how the current President used 22 different pens to sign health care "reform" into law during a segment with anchor Ali Velshi: "These are great souvenirs, obviously, when you have a historic piece of legislation." After listing how Vice President Biden and other top Democratic leaders received some of the pens, the correspondent noted that Dingell, the seasoned liberal from Michigan, also received one of the pens.
When Henry continued that the Michigan Democrat also had one of the Medicare signing pens from President Johnson, Velshi reacted enthusiastically with a "wow!" The correspondent replied with his "amazing" remark, observing that it was a "little bit of political trivia you've got to keep in the back of your mind."
The transcript of the relevant portion of the segment, which aired 45 minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour of Tuesday's Newsroom:
ALI VELSHI: Here's something that was interesting- is the pens. The President signed his name each letter with one pen and then gave it over.
ED HENRY: Each letter- actually, I think there's 11 letters in 'Barack Obama,' right?
HENRY: I'm not too good at math. But-
VELSHI: He used 22 pens.
HENRY: He used 22 Pens. So two pens per letter, and President Bush used to do this as well. These are great souvenirs, obviously, when you have a historic piece of legislation.
HENRY: So you basically sign half a letter with one pen- you put it down- you finish the letter with the second.
We just got the list, in the last couple of moments- CNN has got the list- of who got these pens. I've been getting on Twitter- a lot of people saying, who got them? I want one. This thing would, obviously, be pretty hot on Twitter. The aforementioned Vice President Biden, despite having a potty mouth, got a pen- Speaker Pelosi, of course; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
This is an interesting one. Congressman Dingell, who has been in the House since, I think, 1955-
VELSHI: Yeah, yeah.
HENRY: His father before him- pushing comprehensive health care reform. He got a pen, and his office tells me he also has a pen from Lyndon Johnson signing Medicare.
HENRY: So now John Dingell has two of the most amazing pens, I think- a little bit of political trivia you've got to keep in the back of your mind.