Presidential seal returns to Obama campaign events after change of heart

President Barack Obama speaks at Dobbins Elementary School in Poland, Ohio, Friday, July 6, 2012, during his Betting On America campaign tour. AP Photo

President Barack Obama speaks at Dobbins Elementary School in Poland, Ohio, Friday, July 6, 2012, during his Betting On America campaign tour.
(L) President Obama in Poland, Ohio, Friday, July 6, 2012; (R) President Obama in Pittsburgh, Friday, July 6, 2012
AP Photo
(CBS News) The seal is back.

For the first time at one of President Obama's re-election campaign events, his lectern displayed the presidential seal.

It had been the policy of the Obama White House that the presidential seal would not be displayed at purely political and campaign events.

The policy ended today at Mr. Obama's campaign speech on the campus of Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where the presidential seal adorned his lectern.

Until now, a campaign sign was often affixed to the lectern at campaign events. Earlier in the day, at a campaign speech in Poland, Ohio, a placard bearing the slogan "Betting on America" was affixed to the lectern. The same was the case yesterday at other stops on his bus tour.

Displaying the presidential seal serves to enhance the prestige of the event and contrast Mr. Obama's incumbency from Mitt Romney's status as a challenger.

There's nothing illegal about displaying the presidential seal at a political event being addressed by the president, but until now, the Obama White House felt it was inappropriate.

In 2010, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told CBS News that it had been decided "that at strictly political events we would not use" the presidential seal.

However, an Obama campaign official today points out that "it's common practice for sitting presidents to use the presidential seal at campaign events when they are running for re-election."

The official pointed to the re-election campaigns of Presidents Bush, Clinton and Reagan.

So the presidential seal will now be used at future campaign events addressed by Mr. Obama. But the campaign official said it was decided the seal will not be displayed on the lectern at Obama campaign fund-raisers.

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    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.

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