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Handwriting Experts Weigh in on New York City Candidates' Signatures

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Eliot Spitzer's signature indicates he "has a pretty big ego," while Anthony Weiner's shows "he has a very good opinion of himself," according to handwriting experts. Analysis of New York candidates' signatures:

Do you believe handwriting gives insight into one's personality? Why or why not?



• NY POLITICS • July 18, 2013, 10:10 p.m. ET

Handwriting Experts Weigh In on New York City Candidates' Signatures

Analysts See Personality Traits Between the Lines


• MICHAEL HOWARD SAUL Without realizing it, the city's candidates for mayor and comptroller took part in revealing and unscripted moments on the campaign trail recently: They scribbled their signatures on routine documents.

Those autographs, if handwriting experts are to be believed, could tell voters something about the personalities of the people who may soon hold the city's top public offices.

Enlarge Image
[pic] John Catsimatidis's signature—found on a financial-disclosure report released by the Conflicts of Interest Board on Thursday—looks like a series of undulating waves that have barely any resemblance to the letters in the English alphabet.

"John Catsimatidis's signature is basically illegible, which indicates a sense of arrogance and speed of thinking," said Bart Baggett, a handwriting expert in Los Angeles. "It is one big jigsaw, which indicates a fast, hyper analytical—in fact, probably social, friendly, outgoing—and laser-sharp thinking processes."

Mr. Catsimatidis, a political neophyte, is a billionaire who is seeking the Republican nomination in the Sept. 10 primary. He's best known for owning the Gristedes supermarket chain.

The first letter in Mr. Catsimatidis's signature—the J—is what handwriting experts call a "revenge stroke," Mr. Baggett said. That means he would be a "formidable enemy and has a long memory of those that did him wrong."


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Dianne Peterson, a handwriting expert in Tennessee, said Mr. Catsimatidis's signature signifies "a large ego," and the line through his name indicates he doesn't like something about himself. Another analyst said the line shows he's self-destructive.

Asked for his response, Mr. Catsimatidis said, "It's largely true and it's scary how largely true it is, except for the arrogant and the ego part and the self-destructive part."

As for mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, his signature suggests he's "going to enjoy seeing posters of himself," said Bob Baier, a handwriting expert from Warwick, N.Y.

Race to Lead New York City

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Mr. Weiner, a Democrat, launched his comeback this spring after resigning two years ago amid a sexting scandal.

"He has a very good opinion of himself," Mr. Baier said.

Mr. Baggett said of Mr. Weiner, "He has irritation at himself. He has irritation at others." He added, "His signature is nothing but one big stroke, which essentially means arrogance, ego and hiding of one's inner self."

Ms. Peterson described the Weiner signature as "threading" because none of the letters can be made out. "People that thread will often act out without consideration of others," she said. "It's a sign of arrogance."

A spokeswoman for Mr. Weiner declined to comment.

Republican mayoral contender Joe Lhota, former head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has a signature that suggests "he likes to be seen exactly for who he is," Ms. Peterson said. Each letter in his signature is identifiable, she added. "People like this cannot fake it and don't want to fake it."

Mr. Baggett described Mr. Lhota's signature as one of his favorites because he's "basically transparent": "His ego is completely in check, meaning that he has a healthy normal self-esteem and he is not a narcissist, which is a wonderful thing for a politician to not be because most politicians are a narcissist."

Mr. Lhota said, "What you see is what you get and I believe deeply in transparency and openness....I would say it's a spot-on analysis."

Former Comptroller Bill Thompson's signature was interpreted to mean that he doesn't show emotion, said Mr. Baier.

"He's ruled by his head, not his heart," Mr. Baier said. "He'd be very cool under pressure."

Mr. Baggett described mayoral candidate Mr. Thompson's signature as the "most self-controlled and objective" of the ones he reviewed. But he's not going to be the most dynamic politician, he said.

"He is logical, he is cool under pressure," Mr. Baggett said. "He would be a great poker player."

A spokesman for Mr. Thompson, a Democrat who unsuccessfully attempted to unseat Mayor Michael Bloomberg four years ago, declined to comment.

The signature of former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat running for city comptroller, signifies he "has a "pretty big ego," Mr. Baier said. "Boy, he wants you to get to the point," he said. "People who talk very slowly probably drive him crazy. He probably finishes their sentences for them."

Asked to comment, the Spitzer campaign said it will have to consult the campaign's "palm reader."

Several of the candidates currently in office—such as City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu—were able to electronically file the COIB forms. Their signatures, though, are on paperwork at the city's Board of Elections.

The letter T in Ms. Quinn's signature "reveals stubbornness and her sharp T-bar is sarcasm," Mr. Baggett said. "She just wants you to shut up and get your job done."

Mike Morey, Ms. Quinn's spokesman, said his boss's signature "clearly suggests she is for the middle class and gets things done, right?"

And the signature of Mr. Liu, a Democrat running for mayor, was read by Mr. Baggett to mean he "is focused, good with numbers, and has more caution when making decisions than others."

The Liu campaign said it agrees he is "analytically and numerically inclined. A degree in mathematical physics has not always helped his efforts to dispel Asian-Americans stereotypes."

A version of this article appeared July 19, 2013, on page A13 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Reading Between Candidates' Signatures Lines.…...

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