December 23rd, 2008
01:41 PM ET
14 years ago

A long lens photo stirs debate


For the Obama family, vacations will never be the same.

President-elect Obama isn't the only politician or head of state to be popular with the paparazzi: French President Nicolas Sarkozy is a fixture in the European tabloids, as are the British royals - who have endured decades of interrupted vacations.

And photos of presidents on vacation are nothing new - many remember seeing images of Ronald Reagan on his horse in California. Whether it's golfing or fishing, the demand for a photo of the commander-in-chief at play has always been high. But with the president-elect, it's at a whole new level.

Yesterday on the golf course, Obama told the press corps he'd buy them some beer if they'd just leave him alone for a little while. Now pictures from the paparazzi trailing the president-elect and his family on vacation in Hawaii have sparked new questions about presidential privacy. (Photo credit:

–CNN's Ted Rowlands

Watch: A photographer gets close enough to the Obama family to snap dozens of photos on the beach.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (215 Responses)
  1. SMP

    The issue is not that he's HOT, which he is. The issue is that if a photographer can get close enough to snap a picture of him on vacation, a sniper can just as easily pick him off with a weapon. Where is the Secret Service?

    December 23, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. Lee

    Is this sexist? What if pictures of HRC or PALIN in a bikini on the beach surfaced? Who would be complaining?

    December 23, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. He's the man

    Man boobies. Yum...

    December 23, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. Billy

    No go back and look at those photos of Putin fly fishing and horseback riding with his shirt off. I think we win this contest!

    December 23, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. obama-mama

    Sexiest President ever...Shazzzam

    December 23, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. Concerned in CA

    How sad that the press can't respect the request for privacy. This family is going to be living at least the next 4 years in a huge fishbowl. Is it too much to ask to allow them a private family holiday?

    December 23, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. john

    The amazing thing is you can barely see the strings where Pelosi, Reed, and Dean are controlling The Puppet!

    December 23, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Viet Vet

    I bet the girls would like to have a photo of John Mcwhite boy also!
    har,har, har, gag.

    December 23, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. Rob in NJ

    He has man boobs! ha ha ha ha ha ha

    December 23, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Bo

    America...welcome to what most young black males that have their act together looks like.

    I bet you cann't find any politician in Wahington that looks like this.

    Playa Haters

    December 23, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  11. JL

    how about this is proof of just how NASTY American's are. Who cares he wasn't born with a shirt on. How shallow!

    December 23, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. Mr Magoo

    Thanks Obama, now I have to go to the gym.

    December 23, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Mmmm. What a man, what a man, what a man. Michelle has a gorgeous body also.

    December 23, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  14. Gerry in Va. for Obama.

    WELL, he IS in HAWAII is he not? And he certainly is drop dead handsome to look at. So whats all the complaining about? Besides WHO would want to see W without his shirt on? NOT ME... I think this is who Barack Obama is and it shows that he is a casual, open minded person who knows his own strengths. It is the way he was raised and thank goodness he hasn't changed since the election..

    I think we have a lot to be proud of in this President. Not only does he have a beautiful body but a smart brain to match...

    You redneck jerks who can't seem to get over the fact he won this election fair and square just need to GET OVER IT..... As for you Hillary followers, don't you just think Obama is much better to look at? ("

    December 23, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Allen December 23rd, 2008 3:16 pm ET

    Oh what a joy! We get to have the obamas ugly faces on every newspaper and magazine now, for the next 4 years. I think I'm going to throw-up.
    I wish they could put his face on a five dollar bill, just to see the expression on your face... PRICELESS!!!

    December 23, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  16. carol

    I think PE Obama is a great looking guy with a wonderful nice to have looks and brains running the country for a change.
    Hope all the family enjoy their vacation and have a great Christmas together.....their lives will change forever come Jan next year.
    Looking forward to seeing this cute looking guy becoming our next President.

    December 23, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    He's the man December 23rd, 2008 3:36 pm ET

    Man boobies. Yum…
    I hope you're not having impure thoughts...

    December 23, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  18. Kim

    Omg, he's just yummy... lucky Michelle!

    But ya, this is another example of paparazzi out of control. It would be nice if he could have some private time with his family without the prying eyes of the public. I'm sure many celebrities also feel that way.

    December 23, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  19. lenny

    Let the man enjoy his vacation. When I go on Vacation I dress exactly the same way. So what's the big deal. Let the man live his private life. U just got to get over it folks. let it go

    December 23, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  20. Citizen from NY

    ROFLMAO.......must be a real real slow headline news day!!!!

    And as for some of the comments earlier, I believe Jack Kennedy was photographed on his boat or some kind of beach or boating thing. And, if HRC became President Elect or Palin Vice President Elect, yep, their bathing suit pictures would be taken too. Paparazzi has now shame, remember folks?

    December 23, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. Amber

    To those who are up in arms about how "close the pararazzi got, I have two words for you:


    December 23, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  22. Elaria

    Who cares?

    December 23, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  23. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    so.... December 23rd, 2008 3:10 pm ET

    If the paparazzi can get so close, where are the secret service? Seems that this kind of exposure out in the open would be dangerous.

    What if terrorists were masqarading as paparazzi?
    Ever heard of the Zoom Lens? This guy could be 1000 feet away.

    December 23, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. kitty

    GROSS, this made me feel sick!

    December 23, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  25. Grok

    It's a good sign when a man cares enough about himself to take care of himself.

    I'm sure it's a good sign when a woman does the same, but hey, this is about the Pres.

    Seriously, it takes discipline and effort to maintain a fitness level. This is something that has been sorely lacking in Washington. You people need to learn to look at the important things - don't let the media distract you with the trivia.

    December 23, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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