Will Your Letter Reach Obama? This Guy Decides

White House correspondence head chooses 10 per day
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2009 11:16 AM CDT
Will Your Letter Reach Obama? This Guy Decides
President Barack Obama greets the crowd at Hradcany square in Prague, April 5, 2009.    (AP Photo)

The White House Correspondence Office sorts through tens of thousands of messages daily, and it’s up to its director to select which 10 find President Obama’s desk. But how to choose? “We pick messages that are compelling, things people say that, when you read it, you get a chill,” Mike Kelleher tells the New York Times.  “I send him letters that are uncomfortable messages.”

The messages can have real impact politically—Obama sometimes uses them to make a point in meetings, his chief of staff says—and emotionally. In a silent moment, adviser David Axelrod asked Obama what he was thinking, “and he said, ‘These letters just tear you up,’” Axelrod noted. Writers sometimes receive handwritten responses from Obama—causing one woman, she said, to “just burst into tears.” (Read more Barack Obama stories.)

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