October 22nd, 2010
06:20 PM ET

Could this be President Obama's first iPad signature?

President Obama signed Sylvester Cann's iPad at a rally Thursday.

Sylvester Cann didn't think it would work. But he figured it was worth a try.

And, lo and behold, where others seeking President Obama's signature with a pen and paper had failed, Cann obtained the commander in chief's autograph on his iPad, in what's believed to be the first instance of the president signing an iPad for an autograph-seeker.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The legislative aide was at a rally Thursday at the University of Washington in Seattle when the idea came to him. He was on the rope line, right near where the president would pass by, and he didn't have a pen and paper.

But he did have his iPad.

"I thought, I won't be able to give him a pen, so I might as well pull up a drawing app on the iPad and see if I can make it happen," said Cann, a University of Washington alumnus.

Using the Adobe Ideas app, he wrote his request on the iPad screen - "Mr. President, sign my iPad" - and held it up as Sen. Patty Murray made her way down the line, followed by President Obama.

At first, a Secret Service agent nodded disapprovingly at the iPad, Cann said. But, when Cann shook Obama's hand and gestured toward the iPad, the president appeared to be intrigued.

"I said, 'you can sign it with your finger,' and I showed him how to do it in the corner," he said.

A YouTube video shows the president signing the screen and smiling at Cann before walking off.

"I definitely got the sense that he was surprised. It didn’t seem like he had done it before," Cann said. "But I also got the sense he thought it was a cool idea, because he looked back up at me quickly, like he thought it was fun."

People around him with pens and paper were not allowed to obtain a signature, Cann said, so they took pictures of his iPad.

At first, Cann thought little of the digital autograph, until friends pointed out that it could be the first-ever "Obama iPad signature."

Since then, Cann's phone has been ringing, and he has set up a website and posted the YouTube video documenting the encounter.

"I think it’s fun," he said. "I'm a big fan of technology, so when people are able to do things like this, it's using technology to its fullest advantage. It's cool."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Technology
soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. x

    I still won't vote for him in 2012, I don't care how hip he tries to appear to be. He's an empty suit and a racist.

    October 22, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      A racist? He was raised by his *white* grandparents, largely. I think he liked them just fine.

      October 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geneticist

      Racists sure do take every opportunity to throw the word "racist" in the faces of victims of racism. I guess if you can't use dogs, water hoses, and hoods anymore, you can be a disingenuous Beck-ish smart @ss.

      October 22, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Timie

      Really? Is he racial against his mother and grandparents color or half his own color?

      October 23, 2010 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Seola1

      Actually yes. He's said some racist comments against his own mother and grandmother. But he's half black so it's all good.

      October 23, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • veggiedude

      That 'empty suit' brought back respectability to the US in the eyes of the world.

      October 25, 2010 at 5:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Lynn

    The first thing I saw was the kid couldn't even say the word please? The kid didn't ask, he ordered. As for the Pres signing...no biggie. Ranks right up there with his giving that girl at one of the town hall meetings a note to get out of class for the day. It was just a nice thing to do.

    October 22, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ahatfl

    I have it on good authority that this is a Robo signature and that the Feds are holding up anymore IPAD sales until an investigation concludes.

    October 22, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jack


    Some thing stinks beside the autograph.

    October 22, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bjorn

    lots of put downs from people that have nothing better to do, of course it's news you read it!

    October 22, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Peter

    Its a fun story. My goodness, what a hateful, unappreciative group of people you are. I'm not from the US and you people should be proud of the smart, articulate, polished and caring President you people have. But yet, nothing but trash talk here. ??? What a shame.

    October 22, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lean

      Lean6 – Yep, that's America right. Where half of the country always believes "today" is the worst in history no matter what...even iPad stories.

      October 23, 2010 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
    • JVHO

      As a Canadian observer who lived in the US many years ago, I am sad to see the lack of respect shown to others.
      George Bush and Barack Obama have both been unfairly vilified. There is a lack of civility in this civilization.
      Personally I place most of the responsibility for this on the press. They have great pride in promoting division, it is sad.

      October 23, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tony

    So, now there is a 100% digital copy of the president's signature out there. Hope it isn't misused.

    October 22, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Different Tony =P

      Wikipedia has a scanned image of his signature already. It's been there for a while now.

      October 23, 2010 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. Catie

    When is someone going to reveal that the Obamas are the latest celebrity reality show. Because that is how I feel they are taking this historical and important role as the Presidential family. They are more concerned with being popular, when the heck is he at his desk working?

    October 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Les917

      Pretty sure he has been at his desk, and in the plane, and everywhere else, working more than Duh-bya, who took more vacation time than any other president in total. Additionally, only two recent presidents took less vacation time in their first year. Jimmy Carter, who took 19 days, and Bill Clinton, who took 21, compared to President Obama’s 26. Everyone else took more.

      October 23, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ori

    These People Make Me Sick Obama Ain,t No Dam I,m Tired Of These Racist Slurs And Calling President Obama A Boy, stop!

    October 22, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ted

    ....Written in Swahili,,,signed .." Village Idiot:...

    October 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Corrie

    I tried watching the YouTube video of this but couldn't. He's the PRESIDENT, not Regis Philbin. While I don't particularly care for him, I certainly wouldn't call him "Obama" to his face...more like "Mr. President". He should still be shown the respect that the President deserves rather than being treated like a celebrity from the newest movie or hottest tv show.

    October 22, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. kyactivist

    I think Obama is doing the best job he can for the country and all, but WHO CARES ABOUT AN IPAD?????? Yay, now the person has a signature that will disappear when they need a new generation model...

    October 22, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. PNW

    That's the first thing I thought too: Calling him Obama and not Mr. President or President Obama. But really, what a bunch of losers needing to justify their contempt of the President by making comments like the above. You people really need to get a life. It's a current events story and you read it so.... it's news! Get over your bad selves!


    October 22, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin, Wayne - PA

      One late night I heard a commentator on Fox call the President ... Mr. Obama over and over ... I couldnt believe the disrespect for our fairly elected Executive. I did not vote for President Bush and I had major problems with him as our President, but I always referred to him as our President ... and you know what is ironic ... he stole the election and then lied to the American People about WMD in Iraq and destroyed the world's trust and our economy. He let the mortgage machine then take our economy to the depths of despair. President Obama cares about all Americans and President Bush was a treasonous liar ... but I will still refer to him as President. Why? Because I believe in the democratic values of this great Nation. America for our future, Vote Democratic this Nov ... or start learning mandarin.

      October 22, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      NPR regularly says Mr. Obama as well. I don't know what to think... a general lowering of standards? Subtle racism? I'm a Republican and I certainly didn't vote for him, but the President is Mr. President.

      October 23, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. joy

    i'm surprised secret service let him sign it

    October 22, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Troy from S'port

    This advertisement was brought to you courtesy of ACNN the Apple Computer News Network.

    October 22, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
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