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. Working gal

    Oh brother, a president with an addition to toys! Geez, get over yourself! Why don't you start with Pelosi and her husband's connection with American Somoa and Star Kist and her husband's millions of dollars in stock in the company and her earmarks costing YOU millions she threw their way! You stupid democrats think Bush was a crook – he's got nothing on Pelosi!! By the time she is through with us, and Nobama has printed all the money he wants, it'll be the year 3000 before national debt is paid and the US will be a 3rd world country. All I can say is I'm glad I'm as old as I am (and I'm not that old). And, no, I'm not a republican!

    January 8, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. Missouri Mom

    It makes perfect sense that he would want some connection to remain of the REAL WORLD. His intelligence and foresight are such a welcome change!!! Change I totally believe in! Fight for you right to keep it president elect Obama!!!

    January 8, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. Flomo

    what is blackberry

    is type of pie?

    i would not give up my dinner either. stay strong mr president.

    January 8, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. Anonymous


    January 8, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. Tiff of Lithia Springs

    For legality's sake man you better give it up.

    January 8, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. aliou

    I love america: while we are having all the trouble in the world getting our economy back on track after the devastation of huricane "Bush" and the wallstreet conartists bailout, I can't believe some are fighting over blackberry.

    May be if bush has enough brain to use one, he would have had enough brain to know that wars cost money.

    By the way, the bush's left over brain works in $$$$ only. $$$ swindled directly from the treasury of any country, including ours and those of the countries he invades.

    January 8, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. Tia

    He needs to give it up. No matter what he writes on it or to others it will be fodder and amunition. Email lacks tone and can be misconstrued to mean almost anything you want it to be. As POTUS, he needs to be more secure. Giving up the BB will not remove him from the public and will not force him to be out of touch. Trying to enforce the technology, while a step in the right direction, does not make his BB secure because there will always be someone out there who'll figure out how to get around it.

    January 8, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. S Callahan

    Let him keep it.....just tell him not to 'send' messages out other than ' i heard your message'.

    January 8, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. Becky

    Clinton Fringer January 8th, 2009 10:24 am ET

    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.

    So interesting how different people read information. Obama said he wants to be connected to the world, and a Blackberry would help him. He wants to keep the Blackberry to enable him to work harder and more efficiently. At least that's my take from reading this ticker.


    January 8, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. The BiGGiES

    You've got to be kidding!!! The S.S. is a joke and are in need of some serious help if they Really can' t protect the president from his blackberry. Finally a president with some accountability and they are trying to put a blanket on him. For Gods sake are they really worried about this? And the last time I checked... He is now THEIR Boss. So maybe he should replace them!! Where do they get off telling him he has no right to access the public!! I did not know becoming President meant losing Rights! Go BIG Gov.

    January 8, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. Get Over It

    Is it just me, or is it not apparent that Barack Obama will be sworn in as the next President of this country? If so, why are there still so many haters among us? If you can't find something positive to say or do, stop staring at your computer screen and volunteer your time elsewhere and try to make a difference in this world. Those of us who are already making that effort could use your help.

    I hope Obama doesn't give in to a lot of things without a fight – he is a person just like the rest of us. I will sleep better at night knowing that this highly educated, well-spoken, intelligent, thoughtful and calm man is sleeping under the roof of the White House instead of the most recent occupant. Since the election, I have seen more communication, more concern and more discussion from him than the actual commander in chief. His sense of purpose and determination to help this country is something we have lacked for far too long. So, all of you negative thinkers and haters who just keep on dragging your feet and perpetuating the problems, come on board. We as a nation are going to need all of the UNITED help we can get.

    January 8, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. Chuck

    Could people not be any angrier that he's gonna be president soon? I bet all you so call conservatives dont know why your conservatives. Before Lyndon Johnson signed the Bill of Rights you would have been liberals!!!!! Sorry for the history lessons but instead of meeting people half way, half this country either love or hate the president.

    January 8, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. a REAL American

    So Obama is saying he can't keep in touch with the outer world without it.... that is absurd. Technology is great, but being addicted to electronic devices usually makes people out of touch with reality. Don't believe me? Look at the ridiculous postings of someone like "Proud American", who comments so many times a day it's obvious he doesn't have a job (or if he does, he definitely isn't earning his pay).

    Funny how most of the tech junkies turn out to be liberals.... while most conservatives are too busy trying to actually make a living for themselves, and not on the government's dime!

    January 8, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. William

    This article is misleading.

    One would believe, after reading it, that Bush actually
    understood HOW to use e-mail.

    Bad journalism.

    January 8, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. Becky

    Alfred January 8th, 2009 10:25 am ET

    Why don't you just follow the rules instead of creating your own, Obama?


    Alfred, a President is a Leader, not a Follower.

    January 8, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. laura - chicago

    i think he just doesn't want to give up brick breaker...
    that is what i would be doing during those long boring meetings!

    January 8, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. Your mom eats rocks

    If we want a president to understand us and where we come from then let him have it.. why hide him from everything that's real?

    January 8, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. Paul in SC

    Only idiot democrats need blackberries. They don't know how to communicate any other way!!!

    January 8, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. Phyllis D. Light

    Stay human.

    January 8, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. political watcher

    I would just like to know, why does Obama believe the BlackBerry is the only way he can stay grounded?

    January 8, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. Maggie SC

    I am in full agreement with Obama. they would have to pry mine out of my hand too. It seems that he should be able to have a little privacy that no one can tamper with. I know that position is very delicate but it seems that if he is carefukl and does not leave it on very long the hackers would not have time to access his tranascion but I know he will have to be an ant under a microscope and fot all of us, "WE THE PEOPLE " have to be protected too so not one can get to secret info. We will just have to wait and see what happens won't we?

    January 8, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Get over it

    Oh great, a President that is going to be a security leak!!

    January 8, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. Steph

    BO, when you are done with your Blackberry on the January 19, 2009, at midnight the Blago investigation would like it turned over for their review. I am sure there is much more info that you know in regards to the selling of your Senate seat than you had led the American people to believe., Who will be going down and sacrificed for your involvement in this matter??? Rambo, Jesse Jackson Jr......You are part of the corruption in Illinois and now you will bring your tarnished record to Washington.........BO has the most scandals ever for a Presiden-elect even before he took office.....Let the fun begin!!!!

    January 8, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. butterflycrying

    Give me a break, military officers have blackberries that are secure and they can conduct business on. This is a technological world now, and to top it off he has young children, what if something happens to them?

    January 8, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. Obamaniac

    I think Obama should resign immediately. As a private citizen he can keep his blackberry and the country gets to avoid having such an unqualified imbecile as it's president. Win win situtation if I ever saw one.

    January 8, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21