January 8th, 2009
11:54 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama not giving up BlackBerry without a fight

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/08/art.obamabb.gi.jpg caption="Obama is finding it difficult to give up his BlackBerry."](CNN) - Barack Obama faces a host of challenges when he assumes the Oval Office later this month, but the hardest personally for the president-elect might just be relinquishing his cherished BlackBerry.

Those who follow Obama on a regular basis know the president-elect is constantly on the addictive e-mail device. But the Secret Service, as well as Obama lawyers, are concerned it could easily be hacked and are demanding the new president hand over the BlackBerry before he moves into the White House.

But in an interview with CNBC Wednesday, Obama made clear he's not giving it up without a fight.

"They're going to pry it out of my hands," the president-elect said.

"You know, this town's full of lawyers. I don't know if you've noticed...and they have a lot opinions. And so I'm still in a scuffle around that, but it–look, it's the hardest thing about being president. How do you stay in touch with the flow of everyday life," he added.

The Secret Service also made President Bush give up e-mail when he assumed the presidency, and former President Clinton, during whose term e-mail became widely-used, sent a grand total of two e-mails while president - one as a test to see if it worked and the second to former Sen. and astronaut John Glenn before he went back into space in 1998.

But in the interview Wednesday, Obama suggested keeping his BlackBerry is one way he could stay connected to the real world.

"I've got to look for every opportunity to do that – ways that aren't scripted, ways that aren't controlled, ways where, you know, people aren't just complimenting you or standing up when you enter into a room, ways of staying grounded," he said.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (502 Responses)
  1. obama-mama

    That's what I like about the PE..He doesn't put on heirs and he is down to earth. He wants to be a man of the people.....

    January 8, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. Tom

    I'm 100% with the President on this one... Make this BlackBerry super-secure, but let him use it.

    January 8, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

    MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE HE HAS SOMETHING TO HIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 8, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  4. SOMEONE PLEASE THROW ANOTHER PAIR OF SHOES @ GW!!!

    every day people lives with their blackberry...so why not the president of the united states? this is not low intelligent GW Bush or out of touch John Mcsame!

    January 8, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  5. Yahbut

    Everyone has to learn that there are rules to follow even whoever is president of the United States.

    There is a good side to winning, but there might also be a side one, personally, doesn't like.

    Mr. Obama isn't acting as a grown up if he makes a fuss over keeping his blackberry.

    After all the only thing that people are trying to do is keep him safe.

    I think that is important enough for him to give up his blackberry.

    January 8, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. BUSH BEGONE AND NOW 75% OF AMERICA AGREES, FINALLY!

    "I've got to look for every opportunity to do that – ways that aren't scripted, ways that aren't controlled, ways where, you know, people aren't just complimenting you or standing up when you enter into a room, ways of staying grounded," he said.

    That says alot about the man. This would keep life real and put a dent in the bubble at least, since he will not be conducting official business on the Blackberry.

    Surely some ISP can come up with a secure avenue for the President to keep his Blackberry.

    January 8, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  7. G.R.I.T.S. - Girl Raised in the South

    As long as he remembers Blackberries aren't totally secure, and doesn't send any state secrets, why shouldn't he be allowed to keep it to e-mail friends and check the internet? It's not like he's going to just be sitting in an office all day like the rest of us with easy access to the 'net!

    January 8, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  8. Maryland Democrat

    WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!! January 8th, 2009 10:13 am ET

    MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE HE HAS SOMETHING TO HIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ===================================================
    How would keeping Obama connected imply he has something to hide?

    January 8, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  9. Al

    Every President has stayed at the Blair House why isn't President Elect Barack Obama and his Family staying there? This is the aggervation I feel about the injustice ever time I here about things of this nature. President Bush has every means of keeping this tradition alive but he will not so much as lift a finger to help this man.

    January 8, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. vicki

    I agree with Barack on this !

    January 8, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  11. Terry

    Another candidate for cell-phone rehab. I sit in airports and watch people talk on their phones for hours, essentially saying nothing but hi-howya-doin. I will be glad when I retire. My cell phone will retire too.

    January 8, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  12. Erika, KS

    I hear you. I wouldn't want to give up my Blackberry either. I'm on my fifth one. If you're in business, and on the road, it's hard to give it up. It keeps you connected and you are more productive because of it.

    January 8, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  13. Sarah

    Glad to see personal convenience is more important than national security!

    January 8, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. Richie

    Addicted to his blackberry just like he is addicted to cigarettes! God, glad to see someone with a lot of will power is in a high office!

    January 8, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  15. knowlege

    i don't see a problem with him wanting to use his Blackberry. No he doesn't have anything to hide. He is just very internet savvy and that's what I like about our new president versus the republicans and Bush. They are not up to speed when it comes to technology. Go Obama! The republican party needs to get their act together. Nothing but old ideas and behind in technology. What a shame!!

    January 8, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  16. dave

    "ways that aren't scripted, ways that aren't controlled, ways where, you know, people aren't just complimenting you or standing up when you enter into a room, ways of staying grounded,"

    from a man that rented out a football stadium for his acceptance speech. do as i say, not as i do at it's finest.

    January 8, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  17. vincent - phoenix

    @ Obama Show...

    Geez dude.. does EVERY one of your posts have to have a grain of nastiness to it?

    January 8, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  18. George E

    Maybe Michelle can let him use hers.

    January 8, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  19. Sonia Gupta

    I am with Obama on this one. What is so insecure about a blackberry? Its not like its going to blow up by a spam email. They can make it secure from hackers. In today's world not being part of the electronic communications is like living in the stone age! Go Obama!!

    January 8, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. John from New York

    I am surprised to hear about the Blackberry restriction. It makes sense if you think about hackers being able to find out vital information that is important for national security...But this is the reason why previous presidents are so out of touch.

    In order for the President Elect's personal info or communications to be completely "un-hackable", he would have to stay away from all PCs and Macs, and not use email of any kind. This is an unreasonable request.

    January 8, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. jim hall

    I personnally feel that the secret service should try an find a way to accomadate the president elect when it come to his use of his black-berry system as long as that there isnt any danger to the president himself nor to the security of this country envolved with him being allowed to do so . I also feel that the president elect makes a very good point with regards to his being able to keep in touch with ordinary everyday life events an his not being so insullated from the ordinary situations that revolves around a persons day to day life. perhaps that this might be a part of the reason that this country is now in the shape that it is in . is that the current president might have been too insulated from the ordinary american people an the issues that are and were important in their everyday lives thank you

    January 8, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. Clinton Fringer

    I guess Mr. Obama is getting the hard dose of reality that being the president is actually a job........a hard job..........and not all about smiling for the cameras. There are rules there for a reason and whether he believes it or not, the world isn't going to love him. Maybe he should have thought about what being the president really is all about before he ran for office.

    January 8, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. Mike Dallas

    Those surrounding the next President should be encouraging the use of electronic communication not "dumbing down" the PE by taking the same device that keeps him connected to everyday folks.

    January 8, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  24. Dean from Maine

    The real message is...'he wants to stay grounded' which means he wants to stay in touch with OUR reality and represent US. Thank you PE Obama.

    January 8, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  25. Matt

    What, a Blackberry makes a man of the people. Most Americans don't care or even can afford a Blackberry for personal use. Get a life people, your all brain washed with the notion, that we need a Blackberry or an E-mail account to stay in touch. Bull crap what we Americans need is no more CNN news and Ted Turner. Leave Mr. second coming alone and let him have his Blackberry, remember he's making history.

    January 8, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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