For Presidential Hopefuls, the Handwriting Says It All

Handwriting analyst Sheila Kurtz scrutinized the signatures of the GOP candidates. Her assessment? Don’t expect Newt to drop out.

Eric Gay, AFP / Getty Images

During the last presidential campaign, my company, Graphology Consulting Group, was asked to analyze the handwriting of North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. At the time, he was a squeaky-clean candidate with a brilliant career as a lawyer, a supportive wife who smiled by his side, and a strong following. But his handwriting told a different story. After looking at some notes he’d penned, we decided that this was perhaps the sleaziest man we’d ever scrutinized—and certainly the creepiest politician in the race. And the rest is history.

As a handwriting detective, I pick up on the hundreds of clues that are embedded in penmanship and build them into a complex, living personality that often comes quite close to reality. Graphology research is on the rise in numerous clinical areas, including pre-onset Alzheimer's and schizophrenia, forensic biometrics, and Parkinson's syndrome. Defense lawyers use handwriting analysts to help select juries, and forensic graphologists deal with the role of handwriting in criminal cases that include ransom, extortion, and written threats. The Vatican uses graphology to examine the lives of candidates for sainthood. We are often hired to screen potential romantic partners, to analyze employment candidates for levels of integrity, and to rate rival executives at major corporations. In France and Germany, many companies employ graphologists on their staffs.

Graphologists read the many various formations of handwriting (loops, slants, squiggles, dashes, dots, banners, knots, etc.) and infer how mental and physical functions are operating at a moment in time. These metrics include thinking patterns, emotional structure, goal setting, creativity levels, abstraction abilities, degrees of deceit and self-deceit, enthusiasm, sense of humor, and scores of other personality traits.

So Graphology Consulting decided to analyze the field of candidates in the Republican presidential-nominee race. This would explain to the voter infinitely more about each potential commander in chief than any press conference or stump speech would convey.

Then we threw in President Obama so the GOP hopefuls could assess the competition. It was only fair.

Former Governor Mitt Romney

Since we found only the governor’s signature, that’s all we had to go on. It’s important to note that a “John Hancock” is a public face that a person draws and redraws—it’s practiced, and is a sort of advertisement. A signature is how a person wishes to be presented, whereas his or her other writing may carry many additional indications—some contrary to the signature.

In Romney’s case, the signature slants far to the right, a sign of one who may impulsively act first and think second.

The ‘t’ bar flies way over the ‘t’ stems (in Mitt), a sign of visionary thinking that may be sandcastles in the clouds.

There is a very strong desire-to-acquire hook in the ‘t’ formation. There are “tenacity hooks” as well. What he gets, he holds on to.

The rigid stroke attached to the ‘y’ in Romney is a warning: the writer resents anyone telling him what to do.

There is a needle point in the initial ‘M’ that indicates quick thinking on a high level, perhaps equal to President Obama and contender Jon Huntsman.

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Congressman Ron Paul

The purported handwriting of Ron Paul contains basin-shaped ‘t’ bars that indicate shallow, not-very-serious goals that are set low enough to reach without stretching.

The script slants moderately to the right, a sign of friendliness and an outgoing nature. The tapering of certain letters indicates the laudable trait of tact.

The hooks on the end of final strokes indicate a tenacious mind that holds on to ideas and opinions as tight as a snapping turtle. Most of the ‘e’ formations are closed, a sign of inflexibility once his mind is made up.

The lower loop in a ‘p’ formation is full, a sign that the writer needs to burn off energy to keep it down to a mere boil.

Good imagination is shown in the ‘y’ and ‘g’ loops, but the ideas may not be pursued to fruition.

Strong and firm endings on words (“have,” “on,” “the”) indicate decision-making power.

Rick Santorum

This is an analysis of a signature. The same caveats apply as with Mitt Romney.

He displays the needle points of a very fast thinker (see ‘m’ in Santorum), as do Huntsman and Obama. He is comfortable making decisions.

His goals are practical, combined with a strong drive and a high energy level. He has a good self-image (capitals are all clear and big); he expresses himself well and has a literary bent.

He is analytical and will probe to ferret out information (see ‘v’-shaped formations throughout the writing).

He is good with details.

Former Governor Jon Huntsman

Sweeping ‘t’ bars sometimes soar above the ‘t’ stem, signaling goals far above the reach of ordinary mortals. He will reach for them.

The needle points in his ‘m’ and ‘n’ formations indicate he is a swift thinker.

He dislikes wasted time and is occasionally impatient to the point of acting too quickly—and thus getting it wrong.

His caution (the use of long and short dashes) and personal pride (tall ‘t’ bars) will help guard against impetuosity.

His physical and mental drives are very strong.

He takes on multiple projects, but he will prevent incipient confusion if he stops multitasking and completes one thing at a time.

He is dogged about sticking to old friends and early-instilled beliefs.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich

The purported handwriting of Newt Gingrich (from the 1990s) is mostly printed. What stands out is a positive willpower and drive seen in the strong, upward-slanting ‘t’ bars (as in “pattern”). His goals are set high and, for him, reachable.

Breaks between letters signal intuition: the ability to leap over several logical steps to come to what the writer regards as a trustworthy conclusion. Intuition (“gut”) speeds up methodical and investigative thinking.

Most of the ‘m’ and ‘n’ formations are what graphologists call “ill formed,” with little definition. The writer doesn’t delve, doesn’t look far, and doesn’t look deep. It’s all move, and move on.

Closed-up lowercase ‘e’ formations signal a narrow, limited outlook with private preconceptions galore that filter out most new incoming information.

The unlooped downstrokes in at least two ‘g’ formations indicate a person capable of working alone. Similar strong strokes indicate a determination to get goals accomplished.

The writer is direct and dislikes wasting time beating about bushes.

Gov. Rick Perry

A signature purportedly by Rick Perry contains capital-letter formations (the ‘rr’ in Perry) that signal someone who wants to be different, to stand out, to garner attention. He also tries out flourishes and flares, which may at times work.

The breaks between letters indicate a person who trusts his gut and leaps over the connect-the-dots process of the methodical thinker to come to quick conclusions. He works with the facts on hand, not imagination. He thinks things through, then acts. That’s about all he allows people to see.

President Barack Obama

Classic needle points on ‘m’ and ‘n’ formations identify him as extremely nimble-minded.

The open-looped ‘e’ formations indicate a mind unclogged with preconceptions and prejudices, which thus allows new ideas in.

Good analytical skills are signaled by the ‘v’-shaped formations in the ‘n’s. This writer probes below the surface.

The slant of the overall writing is almost straight up and down, a sign that the writer customarily thinks before taking action and is unlikely to act on raw or coerced impulse.

There are umbrella-shaped structures (over the ‘f’ in "family") that indicate a determined self-control that will cap most emotional outbursts before they do much damage, and can also dampen the emotional outbursts of others.

There are signs of short-lived surges of impatience when he feels time is being wasted. There are firm endings to many words. These are signs of an independent decision maker who will make up his own mind for himself.

The lower loops (as in the 'g' in "against") look somewhat like a figure 8. This loop suggests a full imagination with a literary bent.

The upper loops are very full. These indicate a strong and unpredictable philosophical turn of mind that some might call spiritual.