In Act of Reverence, Respect, Obama Signs Scholar’s Tie

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At the 2009 Arizona State University Spring Commencement ceremony, Barack Obama met with high-school senior Yobani Mejia-Lopez, one of the first recipients of the Obama Scholarship. The President was photographed signing Yobani’s neck tie:


This act serves as an inspiring message to high school students across the country – your achievements in school will be recognized and rewarded, especially if you display subtle elegance of style in formal neck wear. You can see the photo in its original context here.

Yobani could not be immediately reached for comment.

Thanks to Neck of State reader Silka for writing in to share this example of Barack Obama neck tie news.

Obama Swaps Thin Halo for Standard Presidential Necktie

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In our recent post we featured Obama’s streak of tie-less appearances at Town Hall meetings across the country.

Today, the White House published a telling photo of the President unveiling his true power in a move that may change human-kind’s understanding of what it means to wear a tie.


Note: The thin, white halo around the President’s head appears in the original photo provided by the White House.

Executive branch officials may claim that this effect is a simple coincidence of lighting, but some fringe analysts suspect that the photo warrants a new interpretation of the President’s use of neckties. They insist that the President’s neck wear choices say less about what he intends to project outward to an audience than they say about a secret, formidable, faith-based power he is hiding within.

While Neckofstate’s official position has long been that neck wear is used to supplement a message, the photograph above reveals that the President may be rethinking the scope of influence that neckties, or the lack thereof, could have on the political landscape.

As Health Care Heats Up, Obama Loosens Tie

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If you can’t take the heat, you should get out of the kitchen, or at least loosen your tie.

President Obama has certainly seen the heat turn up as the health care debate takes the national stage, and the pressure is getting to him. At a series of public appearances across the country in August, President Obama has been repeatedly photographed without a neck tie, and at least once in rolled-back shirt sleeves.

Obama at a Montana Town Hall MeetingObama at a Colorado Town Hall
Obama at the Grad CanyonObama at a DNC Town Hall Meeting

Analysts say this move reflects his effort to connect with the everyday American during a national heat-wave, but some critics say this shows that the President is still too inexperienced to deal with the realities of a dog-day afternoon in a crippled economy.

Whether the wardrobe change will sway the public is not clear. In New Hampshire and Arizona, hard line fashionistas came to Obama’s town hall meetings wearing guns, probably in protest to Obama’s tielessness. But the town-hall meetings continued on unhampered by the small militia forming outside, and the white house seems unmoved by the fashionista contingency harassing their tour on the ground.

A pro-tie fashionista is shown legally carrying a rifle at a protest against President Obama in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo via CNN and Getty Images).

Grading Obama’s First 100 Days

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As a group, journalists display marked ambivalence about the practice of grading President Obama on his first 100 days in office. Some emphasize how critical the 100 days are for setting the tone, and seem to suggest that a small misstep could destroy the credibility of the executive branch. At the same time, others openly acknowledge that judging a President after only 100 days would be like uniformly and globally declaring the favored winner of a British talent show before the regional qualifiers have even ended.

At Neck of State, we do believe that the 100 day mark is valuable, particularly with a presidency that begins in an era as perilous as 2009. The mainstream media, however, is missing the the most important dimension of assessment. Obama should not be evaluated on his bipartisanship, his domestic policies, his international appeal, his public addresses, his presidential memos, his grassroots outreach, or even his Portuguese water dog.

Obama needs to be graded on, and held accountable for, his neckties and other neck accessories. This exactly parallels the mission of Neck of State.

Since taking office, Barack Obama has worn twenty-four different neckties in public, photographed appearances. Obama’s top seven neckties reveal a lot about the type of administration he is crafting:

Barack Obama's Top Seven Neckwear Choices for his First 100 Days in Office (Small)

This chart displays the appearance frequency for each of Obama’s seven favorite ties, as counted during his first 100 days in office.

President Obama knows exactly what he wants, and he goes after it with the gusto and drive worthy of our Commander In Chief. In the case of neck wear, this means wearing his favorite ties early and often. All of Obama’s “fav seven” are either red or blue, and this reflects his Rehnquistian commitment to balance and bipartisanship. While the President is dedicated to hearing voices on both sides of the aisle, he displays extreme bias in his choice of neckties. He wore each of his top seven ties within the first two weeks of his term. Ties outside of the top seven, however, haven’t been knotted up more than three times, and several only made it out of the closet once. (See the bottom of this post for a complete listing of Obama’s Presidential ties.)

Public opinion Obama’s job record continues to hover in the thermosphere.  Because the President and his valedictocracy are adept at correlating fashion sense with public opinion, we predict that the top seven neckties will continue to have a forceful showing for the remainder of the term.

Barack Obama’s Seven Favorite Neckties

Neckties that Obama Wore Three or Fewer Times

Obama Inaugural Neck Tie Resurfaces

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On Friday, Barack Obama wore his cherished inaugural neck tie for the first time since taking the Oath of Office in front of the nation on January 20. The President has shown a consistent tie-reuse pattern over the first two months of his term, and Neck of State is surprised that it took so long for this square-patterned special to resurface.

The nomination, however, does hold significance for the Obama Administration as the first of his cabinet members to largely avoid scandal on his way to confirmation. Holder now stands seventh in the line of Presidential Succession.

Neck of State: Barack Obama wore his inaugural neck tie while he swore in Eric Holder in as Attorney General.  March 27, 2009.

Integrity, Transparency, and Keen Fashion To Have Their Day in the Sun

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President Barack Obama signs an Executive Order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. March 11, 2009.
White House Photo / Chuck Kennedy

Because of a higher-than-normal level of Presidential coverage over the weekend, we’re breaking form and again covering the President’s weekend neck wear for March 7-8. In a brazen show of candid behavior that some critics will call reckless, President Obama was photographed Saturday leaving Washington D.C. for the Maryland Presidential Retreat sans neck wear.

On Sunday, he returned home to celebrate Ted Kennedy’s 77th birthday in a stylish green neck tie. The pattern on this casual affair resembles celestial bodies orbiting one another. Neck of State is happy to see that the President relaxed a bit over the weekend, and we are confident that this casual set of neck wear choices will be more comforting than warm kittens playing poker to a public distressed by the nation’s economic downturn.

Neck of State: President Barack Obama sans neck wear on the way to the Maryland Presidential Retreat. March 7, 2009.Neck of State: President Barack Obama's neck tie from Ted Kennedy's birthday bash. March 8, 2009.

On Monday, the President wore a new blue/white striped tie while signing the Executive Order on stem cells and a Presidential Memorandum on scientific integrity. Scientists across the nation have been clamoring for this action for years, a move that Neck of State sees as the beginning of the end of the federal government’s War on Science. This new tie signals a dawn of integrity and transparency in the federal government’s treatment of scientific endeavor.

Tuesday and Wednesday, the President wore previously used neck ties.

Neck of State notes that the tie that he wore on Tuesday (“Complex Red”) was probably too long for him, and we were not able to immediately determine if this had any impact on his meeting with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Neck of State: President Barack Obama's neck tie from when he signed the Executive Order on stem cells and a Presidential Memorandum on scientific integrity. March 9, 2009.Neck of State: Barack Obama's neck tie during his meeting with Ban Ki-Moon. March 12, 2009.Neck of State: Classy neck tie worn by Barack Obama while signing an Executive Order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. March 11, 2009.

What Neck Tie Did President Barack Obama Wear on [insert date]?

Neck of State readers often send us inquiries about what neck wear the President wore on a particular date. In an effort to address these questions and support our mission, Neck of State is proud to introduce the Presidential Tie Calendar:

Track Presidential neck ties with the Neck of State Tie Calendar..

Using this resource, you can quickly look up which neck tie the President of the United States was wearing at public appearances on weekdays during his first term. While we unroll this new feature, please send any feedback to head (at)

Remember that you can also get Presidential neck wear updates by following us on Twitter.

Obama’s Neck Tie Shines in Seventh Weekly Address

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In his seventh weekly address to the nation, President Obama spent enormous efforts making clear distinctions between the past, present, and future of our national economy. From the video:

Yesterday, we learned that the economy lost another 651,000 jobs in the month of February, which brings the total number of jobs lost in this recession to 4.4 million. The unemployment rate has now surpassed 8 percent, the highest rate in a quarter century.

My administration inherited a $1.3 trillion budget deficit, the largest in history. And we’ve inherited a budgeting process as irresponsible as it is unsustainable. For years, as Wall Street used accounting tricks to conceal costs and avoid responsibility, Washington did, too.

These kinds of irresponsible budgets — and inexcusable practices — are now in the past. For the first time in many years, my administration has produced a budget that represents an honest reckoning of where we are and where we need to go.

Emphasis mine.

Obama chose to wear his dark-blue tie with white dots (“Starry Night”) for this address, which is in line with discussions about the flow of time and how it affects our national economy. Our view of the stars is based on cataclysmic events that occurred anywhere from years to centuries ago. By wearing “Starry Night” Obama implicitly reminds the audience that he is intervening in a crisis whose apparent effects were caused by events in the distant past.

Obama has worn “Starry Night” four times since taking office, and this was his second time wearing it for a weekly address to the nation. Current Neck of State projections place this tie as an executive favorite for the first 100 days of Obama’s presidency.

Neck of State: Barack Obama wears a dark blue neck tie with white dots while attending a police academy graduation in Columbus, Ohio on March 6, 2009.

Obama Taps New HHS Nominee in New Tie

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President Barack Obama introduces Secretary of Health and Human Services Nominee Kathleen Sebelius. March 2, 2009.
White House Photo / Pete Souza

President Obama introduced Secretary of Health and Human Services Nominee Kathleen Sebelius this week on Tuesday while simultaneously introducing a new tie that featured in excess of five different shades of silver.

Sebelius replaces Obama’s initial nominee, Tom Daschle, who withdrew in February to dodge answering questions about his tax record. As with Gary Locke, Obama’s choice to wear a new Presidential tie while putting forth a second-string Cabinet member is not a fluke – he hopes to deliver fresh perspective on the new nominees by distracting the public with distinct neck accessories.

Tuesday, the President wore his “American striped” neck tie for the fourth time since taking office. Neck of State has two theories to explain the blatant overuse of this particular tie:

  • His meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown necessitated a strong statement of American will and a reminder of what happened the last time our nations entered into conflict. Use of an American striped tie could be a subtle, but succinct, jab between world leaders.
  • He was momentarily distracted by creepy journalists incessantly talking about Michelle Obama’s arms and how they are becoming the “stuff of legend”. In his temporary confusion, he may have accidentally worn an overused tie.

At Neck of State we see these of both these theories as plausible, but tend to believe that neck wear choices are never accidents.

On Wednesday, the President wore “Big Red” (a GOP crowd pleaser) when he was joined by Senator John McCain to discuss the reform of government contracting. By wearing a red neck tie, President Obama made it clear that there will be a resolute bipartisan stand to putting contractor excesses to an end.

Finally, Thursday, the President attended the White House Forum on Health Care Reform in his green tie with white stripes. Senator Edward Kennedy, a champion of health care reform, made a surprise visit to the forum, and Obama chose to show solidarity with the Senator’s struggle through illness by wearing a tie that symbolizes the healing power of the earth.

Neck of State: President Barack Obama's neck tie worn while introducing Secretary of Health and Human Services Nominee Kathleen Sebelius. March 2, 2009.Neck of State: President Barack Obama's neck tie during a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. March 3, 2009.Neck of State: President Barack Obama's neck tie worn during a press conference with Senator John McCain. March 4, 2009.Neck of State: President Barack appears at the White House forum for health care reform wearing a green tie with white stripes. March 5, 2009.

Obama Neck Tie Says He’s Ready to Fight

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In his sixth weekly address to the nation, President Obama came off the blocks like a leopard at Gallipoli, vehemently reasserting his dedication changing the direction of the United States, no matter who it angers in Washington. From the video:

I realize that passing this budget won’t be easy. Because it represents real and dramatic change, it also represents a threat to the status quo in Washington. I know that the insurance industry won’t like the idea that they’ll have to bid competitively to continue offering Medicare coverage, but that’s how we’ll help preserve and protect Medicare and lower health care costs for American families. I know that banks and big student lenders won’t like the idea that we’re ending their huge taxpayer subsidies, but that’s how we’ll save taxpayers nearly $50 billion and make college more affordable. I know that oil and gas companies won’t like us ending nearly $30 billion in tax breaks, but that’s how we’ll help fund a renewable energy economy that will create new jobs and new industries. In other words, I know these steps won’t sit well with the special interests and lobbyists who are invested in the old way of doing business, and I know they’re gearing up for a fight as we speak. My message to them is this:

So am I.

Emphasis mine.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen that Obama is ready to fight. When it comes to the policies of the Bush administration, it seems like Obama is resorting to the hatchet rather than the scalpel. The latest Bush trademark to get cut is none other than the Iraq War. On Friday President Obama announced that he would end U.S. combat operations in Iraq by August 31, 2010. Bringing the war to a responsible end was central to Obama’s campaign platform, so this move in itself does not come as a large surprise.

But nobody expected that he would end the war while wearing the same tie that he used when closing the facility at Guantanamo Bay. During his campaign to be President, Obama repeatedly promised he’d bring a new attitude to the war on terrorism. The two most important steps he has thus far taken in implementing this vision were the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and now ending the Iraq War, and he did both in the same neck tie. Neck of State hopes that the President will consistently reshape the country’s military strategy while wearing this austere burgundy accessory.

Barack Obama records his sixth weekly address on February 27, 2009.
White House Photo / Pete Souza

Neck of State: Barack Obama changes the destiny of the world while wearing a burgundy patterned neck tie on February 27, 2009.