January 8th, 2009
11:54 AM ET
10 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. Lady

    I knew it would happen. What do you think Jesus actually said about a blackberry? What does religion have to do with this? Ignorance.

    January 8, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. shirley in Virginia

    I hope President-elect Obama gets to keep his Blackberry. Surely there is a compromise somewhere, like e-mail connections to family and close friends only, etc. etc. I'm impressed he really wants to be able to surf the web and see what real Americans are thinking. C'mon Republicans, give the man a break. We had GWB for 8 years, and some of us Dems actually tried to see the good things about the president, not all his mistakes. At least, as much as we could. Give Obama a chance.

    January 8, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. Darin

    ....any"thing" is smarter than Bush. Of course he should be allowed to maintain his Blackberry. What a ridiculous issue!

    January 8, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. John

    Obama, get over it and give the thing up. Many of your supports know that you will need both of your hands to waive your magic wand and sprinkle your pixie dust all over this country to fix what needs fixing.

    January 8, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. Michelle

    With great privilege comes great responsibility. He's going to have to give it up. He needs to be safe–he has two little girls for crying out loud.

    January 8, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  6. Ralph Dupree

    It's simple people, Blackberries have GPS built in, he needs to grow up and give it up.

    January 8, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. Julie

    I understand both sides. Obama wants to be able to keep in touch with the 'real' world so that he doesn't have to rely on always being fed information by someone in government while the Secret Service and lawyers want to make sure that nobody is able to hack into Obama's personal communications. Both sides make sense so it is difficult to say one side is more right than the other so I believe there should be some leniency on both sides.

    January 8, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. gregg45

    January 8th, 2009 10:28 am ET

    Alfred, Why "just follow the rules" if they don't make sense. Question the rules and maybe even come up with a solution to the concern while adding value to the post. Obama will soon be the leader of the free world, he will be very involved in changing the rules if need be and not just follow blindly like your home boy Bush

    wow dude,,, the leader of the whole free world?? wow... makes him kinda god like dont it,,

    January 8, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. mary

    I did not vote for you , but I like the direction you are headed! Keep that Blackberry ! You will be a better president if you see the world as we see it...
    I suppose you could never send an email or just send love notes to the three sweet ladies in your life!! No one could find fault with a man that lets his wife and chldren know how much they are thought of my him!

    January 8, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. Joe

    A presidnet in touch with the real world – now that's change we can beleive in

    January 8, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  11. cobra

    He needs it so he can keep in touch with the rest of the scum and crooks in Chicago.

    January 8, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  12. Bob

    Just reading this blog just goes to show how many stupid people we have -–There is nothing secure anymore and blackberries are a big target along with your cellphones and PC.... It seems like most of you have forgotten 9/11 and what happened on our soil. NOTHING IS SECURE ANYMORE!!!!!! Obama grow up and get rid of the Blackberry if not for your own security, but for the security of all Americans....

    January 8, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. connie

    Don't want to give up your blackberry.
    how childish of you.
    Your comment sound like my child

    January 8, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. Cat

    I have a Blackberry, too, and rely on it heavily, but I am also NOT the elected head of this nation with responsbilities of national security at the top of the list of my things-to-do for the day. Behave "presidentially" Mr. Obama, just give it up. You'll have access to equipment & technology that far exceeds that which Blackberry can provide you...

    January 8, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. Steve

    I think theonion.com should do a story on how people reacted when the telephone was invented... "Secret Service wants the PE to stop using his rotary telephone, because it could be hacked into..." Seriously, communication methods change, and people adapt. The whole concept with a BB (as it was with the telephone) is quicker communication, for more timely action. I really don't think that this country needs us to move any slower on things then we already do. There are ways to make the BB more secure, in fact, most of our government ALREAY uses different servers than your average BB user, since RIM is based in Canada, and we don't want our secrets getting into the pesky hands of our brothers to the North. 🙂 And really, no one has an issue with Air Force One, why not BES One? (BES is the blackberry enterprise server that companies use for their employees corporate email.)

    January 8, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. ga.

    this has become a necessary tool in most everyone's life, he should be able to keep it, make it hacker proof.

    January 8, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  17. Sue

    All the other past presidents figured out how to stay informed and communicate with others without a Blackberry or any other fancy gadgets. I think Obama can muddle through his term without a Blackberry like the rest of us who don't own one. He'll live. There is such a thing as the telephone or turning on the news or reading a newspaper to stay informed and/or communicate with others.

    January 8, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. Jim

    If it makes Obama more effective ( and obviously it has) find out a way to make a more secure blackberry and go from there. Don't hamper him in doing his job, because he has a monumental one in front of him.

    Christ almighty not even a decent sales rep can get get by these days without their crackberry. Don't listen to the naysayers, and figure out a way to make it work and keep it secure at the same time.

    Washingtonians suck so bad at technology.

    Go Barack !

    January 8, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. Sam

    thats the problem with technology, people get too addicited and its rediculous

    January 8, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. Sara for America

    Here's his plan.

    As President, he writes emails using his BlackBerry. His messages are something to the effect that "I am so humbled by this experience," and "I wept over the poor and hungry today".

    Then, OMG, it gets "hacked!" SOMEHOW his postings get leaked to the media.....(MSNBC perhaps, or FOX to make it look credible).

    Then all the cultists weep because their leader is so....Christlike.

    January 8, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  21. Jonita

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


    Or maybe he doesn't if he had something to Hide wouldn't he want to get rid of it?

    January 8, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  22. gregg45

    un mode my statements,,, i have every right to post a comment.. until 012009... until the spawn from hell is unleashed upon us .. i will have a right to speak.. after then... so help you all.. my god how gullible some of the folks here are... this is where i come to laff at half the idiots in america , with it tech and all,, im on dial up , and it works great

    January 8, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. Ben McLaurin

    Oh for heavens sake. This is not about national security. Nothing about Nation Security will ever touch the device.

    Nowhere in the article mentions National Security. The Secret Service is concerned that information my get hacked to reveal his personal security.

    Now for those ranting about him hiding things with the Black Berry turn on your brains for a second. The lawyers don't want him to have it because it is subject to disclosure. The information on it can be subpoena. If he wanted to hide something he would be getting rid of it. A Blackberry is the last place you want to hide information.

    January 8, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. MAD

    Something needs to be figured out so he can stay connected and safe at the same time. Not sure how but I hope someone can make that happen for him.

    January 8, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. bill b. from Stratford,Ct

    Enough with the FEAR tactics, what's wrong with having a Blackberry to keep in touch with his friends and family. All that crap about terrorist threat or someone will get to Obama, PLEASE, enough with the Bush Admin. scare and fear crap. There are no terrorist trying to get to every American with bombs and all that other crap their trying to keep us afraid. If this country didn't do the things they do over seas to other people, we wouldn't have this crap out here.

    January 8, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
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