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. Casey, CA

    Ripped and ready honey. Ready to lead.

    December 23, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. Dave Bronsburg

    Im concerned with the presidents security. This could have been a terrorist with a high caliper rifle and scope. Id like to see our security improved to protect our president and clamp down on the paparazi

    December 23, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. BreAnna - Military Brat

    Erika sweetie, President Elect Obama didn't tell the paparazzi to take pictures of himself while he was on holiday. By your way of "thinking", he should have been at the beach in anything but a bathing suit.

    Anyway, while I agree PE Obama is in good shape for being nearly 5 decades old, these photographers should respect the Obama's privacy while they're on holiday.

    December 23, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. Lyndsey, MA

    Feeling hot, hot, hot.

    LOL, leave him alone y'all–he deserves a great vacation.

    Unlike George W. Bush who should never have left the oval office except to eat and sleep. What a moron.

    December 23, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. Shanna, FL

    Oh yeah, can I vote again.


    December 23, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. Teresa

    LOL at all the FAT rednecks with huge beer bellies and teeny-tiny brains. jealous much?

    December 23, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. Independent

    Putin vs Obama. Who would win? older martial arts master vs the quick younger in-shape obama

    December 23, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. Cleopasw

    I think should've gone to Kenya For goodness...all the lions...hyenas...cheetahs...elephants...snakes...more fun!!! The president of the world!!

    December 23, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  9. RR

    I want to know why the press wouldn't have a beer on the PE. Make me that offer and see what happens. How cool would that be?

    December 23, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. danel

    As the lady says: Lawd ha mercy!!!

    December 23, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  11. Georgia Girl

    If the secret service could not protect president Bush from one shoe, than a second shoe....need i say more. Obama, you look marvelous!!!!

    December 23, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. Sandy

    WOW! What a beautiful man. Smart and handsome and a good person. This man needs to be cloned.

    December 23, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. NOT right!

    Dude! That's just NOT right! That's the President Elect people! Have some respect!

    December 23, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  14. Flesh

    All flesh, materialism, socialism and bad habbits such as smoking, addiction to nicotine, and drunkeness, not much more inside, and no better than the Victoria's Secrets' models. Is it American destiny, in the tradition of spiritual, moral and intellectual values of our founding-fathers??

    December 23, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  15. Helena

    January 20, 2009 – we will have a president that is mentally fit and physically fit as well.
    What a great role model for the youth of this country.

    December 23, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  16. G from the A

    Barack's my homie , but .......tweet tweet!!!!!!

    December 23, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  17. Julie

    I had no clue he would be so buff out of his president-elect garb.
    Michelle, I hope you're stepping it up for the Inaugural Balls!

    December 23, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |

    Granted the Pres Elect looks good and I'm heading to the gym after work but It's a little scary a camera can get that shot. With all the "craziers" out there secret service needs to step up their game.

    Not only for Obama but for the sitting President as well.

    December 23, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  19. KG

    Agree Rodeoman. In today's world of sickos, allowing this kind of access to a President (or Pres-elect) can be dangerous.

    December 23, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  20. clifford

    If you women think this is "HOT" you must be pretty out of shape yourselves!!!

    December 23, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  21. MC- Atlanta,GA


    December 23, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  22. proudliberal-independent feller

    here in arkansas we feel it only appropriate to be seen in public in coveralls or overalls. course, what u folks call a day at the beach, we call a free bath.

    December 23, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  23. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    I wonder how the paparazzi would like to be hounded every moment. It is disgusting how little privacy is possible for our president-elect and other leaders.

    Where will it all end?

    December 23, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  24. Marcie, GA

    Uh...he's got my vote.

    December 23, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  25. A Canuck

    What a great role model for all the overweight people in America !!!

    December 23, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
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