President Obama has reversed his practice of not using the presidential seal on his podium at campaign events.
Mr. Obama spoke from a podium adorned with the official government seal on Friday at a campaign appearance in Pittsburgh, and Vice President Joseph R. Biden also displayed the seal of his office Thursday at what was billed as a campaign speech at the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Houston.
That’s a departure from previous practice, though not illegal. In 2010, then-White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told CBS that “at strictly political events we would not use” the presidential seal.
On Thursday, current White House press secretary Jay Carney said Mr. Obama’s predecessors had used the presidential seal at campaign events.
“You will find that many presidents running for re-election have — when they stand in front of that particular podium, use the presidential seal,” Mr. Carney said. “It’s government — that podium is government property. We don’t hang campaign signs on it. We use the presidential seal.”
Until now, the president has campaigned at a lectern or a podium adorned with a campaign sign or slogan such as “Forward.” Mr. Carney said it was “appropriate to have the presidential seal on the podium behind which he is standing, because he is actually the president of the United States.”
Obama campaign officials said both Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush used the presidential seal at campaign events in 1996 and 2004.