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. deb in Colo


    Geez – lighten up – everybody deserves some time off.

    December 23, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. Eve 4 Obama

    CNN what's wrong with you?!?! Leave this man and his family alone at least for their vacatiions!

    December 23, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Monica L.

    Obama probably did about 100 push ups, peeked out of his blinds, saw the photographer and strutted outside. The dudes ripped, so go for it.

    December 23, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. Baze

    dag, he's in shape!

    December 23, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. Texas Teacher

    Intelligent AND good looking! 🙂 Makes it more interesting, yes? Mrs. Obama is just as attractive! Like the Clintons, we have looks and brains in our new Pres. and First Lady!

    December 23, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. Bama for Obama

    OMG is right cherry strawberry... Michell is a lucky woman.

    What a man! What a man! I'm surprise there are not more little Obama's running around.

    December 23, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    First off the Secret Service better get its act together. First the shoes being thrown, now they let someone get close enough to snap off a few pictures like this.

    All that being said, the President-Elect looks great. The man appears to be in perfect shape. He's obviously been doing a little more at the gym than just playing basketball.

    December 23, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. tony fields

    Do your thing Mr. President.Like jeezy said" yall touch him we riding"

    December 23, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  9. karen

    Too close for comfort.

    December 23, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. Rob

    Sort of looks like that little weakling. You know, that one everybody kicks sand in his face !

    December 23, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. layla

    I love the way he looks!!we can tell he exircises a lot...good for his health

    December 23, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. Kenneth M. of Flushing Queens

    Niki you are so right. And Once you go black it just gets blacker and blacker. Look a the NFL and NBA. Once they got Black Coaches that is what they went after. I bet the next 3 presidents will be Black. Two from the GOP and 1 Indy.

    December 23, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. Texas Teacher

    Wow... all the comments about sharp shooters being as lucky as this photographer is a bit scary! The man has to have a life! But we surely do NOT want anything to happen to him! 🙂

    Be mindful, Mr. President Elect! Be mindful!

    December 23, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. Doug in New Mexico

    This is troubling to me. Anyplace that a telephoto lens can go so can a telescope on a high powered rifle. I would think that after two Kennedys we have learned a lesson. Add to that there are real hate mongers out there who would like nothing better than to do away with President Elect Obama.

    December 23, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. jim

    Someone has to help me on this...I thought the same thing with the "candid" photos of Bill and Hillary "dancing" on the beach. How can a paparazzi get a unauthorized photo of the Pres-elect like this? Couldn't that paparazzi have this lens on a rifle? I'm thinking these photos aren't so candid after all. I'm thinking these are poses with the permission of the team and Secret Service. Give me a break already and stop insulting my intelligence.

    December 23, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  16. Erika

    PLEASE!!!!!!!! I can't stand it anymore. Mr. Rock Star, Junior Senator, President Elect. Ego maniac, empty suit. Obama sure loves the media and as you can plainly see, he'll do anything to get the attention they lavish on him. Stop the nonsense. Grow up Mr. Obama. We don't need to see your pecks man. Have some pride and decency. THIS DOES NOT MAKE YOU LOOK PRESIDENTIAL.

    December 23, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. Reality

    yeah seriously !!! There should be no way for any photographers to get this close to a President. EVER !!! What the heck is the secret service doing ?? Obviously not doing their job !!!! >:(

    December 23, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  18. Andy

    We need Michelle to walk around like that

    December 23, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. Ex-Republican

    Erika December 23rd, 2008 5:16 pm ET
    You are a pretty sad mental idiot. I can only imagine how worked up you must get when you go to a pool party, or the must just go off the hook, and/or break down and cry. If someone being in a bathing suit bothers you that much, I would seriously seek help if I were you!

    December 23, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. Haters! Ha! Ha!

    There not man boobs, there called pecs you pathetic haters! You people are so sad. It must be killing some people that not only is this black man our next president but he's hot and intelligent too! Get over it and get a life!

    December 23, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. Jaimee

    Whoa!!! Whoa!!! Our leader's a hottie!

    December 23, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. Stephanie, MI

    Well, if your job sent you to Hawaii, you'd have to come back with the good too. And these pics are the goods–wow.

    December 23, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. Craig, MD

    Arnold wants to pump, pump pump him up– Barack's arms and legs.

    December 23, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  24. Ken, WA

    Guys, it was a long lens camera. The papparazzi were not close at all.

    December 23, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  25. Candice, IL

    Trust me if this were McCain the papparazzi would be asleep.

    December 23, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
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