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. Lindsey

    Oh my goodness. President Obama's got pecs! And a hint of ripples in his abs. Remember the bit of nastiness Schwarzenegger uttered at one of the Grand Old Party's rallies for McCain, about Obama's "scrawny" physique? I wonder what McCain looks like without a shirt. No, I don't.

    December 23, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    He and his family will have very few private moments over the next several goes with the territory. Not a bad picture though....he keeps himself in pretty good shape.....I have a sudden urge to get on the treadmill.

    December 23, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. Michael

    Obama.....ha ha ha ha ha! Now there's a leader! LOL.

    December 23, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. london reader

    The only thing of any sense said in this thread was the secret service point. Otherwise, would CNN kindly report real news. Thanks, from a London reader.

    December 23, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. WATwatwat

    This guy's rolling with no security...I don't get it?! either it isn't hot or this is careless.

    December 23, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Once you vote Black

    Jo whats a PILF? Is that a natural fit? Show some respect for the rest of us.

    December 23, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. Toby in Illinois

    If they could get that close with a camera, they could get that close with a scope. Security needs to be tightened for safety more than for decency.

    December 23, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Wowza!

    i know it was wrong for the paparazzi to shoot this ...

    but OMG what a hottie!!

    December 23, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Anne E.

    The man and his family deserve some privacy. On the other hand, he appears to be leading by example in many areas, like being a responsible father and parent; efforts to quit smoking; displaying some semblance of intelligence; and now, fitness.
    I'll never be "ripped," but I'm certainly motivated to follow his example.
    Barack On!

    December 23, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  10. Orlando

    WOW!!!!!!! Obama is hot! Come on ya all, i need to go get my six-pack

    December 23, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. NIKI



    December 23, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. MD

    Ok, all you smart people. You know they make telephone lens for things other than cameras. Still way too close for comfort.

    December 23, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. naqib

    Brian from Fort Mill, SC
    "Ever heard of the Zoom Lens? This guy could be 1000 feet away."

    Ever hear of a 300 Win Mag... 400 yards is nothing... the Secret Service needs to be way better than this.

    December 23, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. IN

    This "shirtless thing" is disrespectful at the least and what is the deal about "hairless Kenyan/Muslim"? I wonder why people don't acknowledge his white (American) mother and what he inherited from her? So they can put him down maybe?

    December 23, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. Ken in NC

    So many have criticized PE Obama for not doing anything to help the economy and for going on vacation while the nation goes down the tubes. People get a gripe. PE Obama has resigned his Senate seat and is not yet the President of the United States. Until he takes office in January, that job still belongs to our able bodied President Bush. That makes him an unemployed man no different from many of us. If he chooses to vacation before taking office, I for one, think he is most deserving of it after the long run for office. That having been said, he can vacation if he wants as he has no official title yet and I suspect that after he takes office, there will be little time for vacations so please give the man a break.

    December 23, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Gerda Edwards

    "Now, imagine the same photo of : John McCain, George Bush, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney….feel free to scream in absolute horror at the mental image; I know I did."

    ...or Joe Biden.

    "Is there anything that isn't perfect about this guy!?!"

    "Ummm, ahhh, you know, mmmm" <– Obama talking whenever he doesn't have a teleprompter. (Also the male boobies. There are medical procedures for that.)

    Thanks goodness it wasn't a picture of Michelle backside.

    December 23, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. Rodeoman

    If a photolens can get this good of a shot, so can a well trained sniper. The Secret Service should not allow this kind of access.

    December 23, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Adel Essa

    It's so sad to see how CNN has been sliding on a steep slippery slope that running through and leading to the typical sleazy journalism. Come one now – let's focus on the real news – Let's go after those bankers who are at the moment stealing our hard earned dollars.

    December 23, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. Franky

    And one last thing...I do NOT, I repeat, I do NOT wanna be like the Yanks or Cowboys!! Not in my lifetime and were gonna do what we do best and that's play the game right! Hell no I ain't gonna let this team(transition) be like the Yanks or Cowboys...not in my watch. Business will get done...

    December 23, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. RICK

    he may be shirtless here, but there is one heck of a coverup going on with his senate seat. there is no truth coming out of his statements, the governors wife has already stated about conversations had with people about getting special treatment from obama for giving the seat to the right person..........this coverup smells of old fish...

    December 23, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. MP

    ....let the rumors start....he is gay.

    December 23, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. NIKI

    CNN...... IS THIS NEWS?

    December 23, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. obama-mama

    Brian from Fort Mill, SC December 23rd, 2008 3:49 pm ET

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

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

    December 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. Adrienne

    I have been told by many of my friends that the secret service was coming for me. My screen saver at work and home is OBAMA. Well come on and get me! But they better take care of this man or I will be after them! He is too sexy!! And I can't get ENOUGH of him.
    Mr President Elect ... enjoy your vacation!! Love ya!

    December 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Island girl

    If the Secret Service could not protect Bush from the shoe hurler, good luck with keeping the paparazzi at bay! Gee, soon they will follow Obama to the restroom. Island people have a saying which when translated goes as follows: "The higher you climb the more exposure you get". Let's hope they do not BARGE into the memorial service for "Toots".

    December 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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