Barack Obama bowed to authority Monday — literally.

The Democratic presidential hopeful delivered his one-page form and $1,000 check to get on the primary ballot in New Hampshire. Secretary of State Bill Gardner accepted the material with a handshake.

Obama topped that.

The Illinois senator folded his hands and bowed at the waist.

"I want to thank the secretary for keeping all this in order," said Obama, standing with Gardner at his side. "I know there's a lot of pressure and stress on him, but you can tell he handles it pretty well."

It was an acknowledgment of the power that Gardner holds. The secretary of state, who has served for 31 years, will set the date for the New Hampshire primary, vowing to follow the state law that requires it to be seven days before any similar contest.

Gardner's waiting game has angered some, frustrated others and even drawn respect as political leaders, party officials and candidates await his word on when the first-in-the-nation primary might be scheduled.

Gardner has said it would be no later than Jan. 8, but he has hinted that it could go into December if other states continue moving forward.