What Happens When You Write to Obama

The president reads 10 letters a day; here's an inside look on how
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2010 12:53 PM CDT
What Happens When You Write to Obama
President Barack Obama reads letters he has been sent during his visit to Capitol Hill to meet with House Democrats, in Washington, Saturday, March 20, 2010.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

When Jennifer Cline wrote her letter to Obama, she treated it like a diary entry. The 27-year-old Michigan mom had recently lost her job, gone bankrupt, and been diagnosed with cancer, but she told the president things would get better soon. She didn’t expect anyone to read it. But Obama insists on reading 10 letters from the public each day, a representative sample that helps him get outside “the presidential bubble,” the Washington Post reports.

Picking those 10 is hard; 100,000 emails, 5,000 letters, and 4,000 faxes come in each day to a nondescript building in an undisclosed location. There, analysts check for security risks, then sort letters by category, picking particularly representative or memorable ones. Obama’s director of correspondence then selects the 10, making sure the mix reflects how much mail the public has sent on particular issues. Cline’s made the cut, and Obama was so moved he sent her a handwritten response. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)

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