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. vahe

    hahaha this is funny i know how he feels i am a blackberry user too its very hard to stay without one....

    January 8, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Smarter than the average guy

    I agree the guy should be able to "use" his blackberry to stay in touch with friends and family, but I'm not sure having it on him all the time is a good idea. Most of you know that you can be tracked by your cell phone signal, so I think there is a safety angle that is not being discussed by the secret service.

    January 8, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. Larry in Houston TX

    To : a real american......I OWN my Own Business, and use the internet FOR my Business.....

    I don't know about anyone else....
    Thanks

    January 8, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. Marcus Allen

    You DON'T need a blackberry to stay in touch with the real world.
    To stay in touch with the real world.people need to PUT DOWN the blackberry !

    How idiotic that he thinks text technology keeps you in touch better than simply talking to someone.

    January 8, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. Tony

    Maybe he ought to be worrying about more important thinss. I was laid off on October 20 and am having absolutely NO LUCK finding employment. I have no health insurance and cannot afford my monthly preseciptions any longer.

    What is he planning to do to help me besides talk?

    January 8, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. Marcus Allen

    You DON'T need a blackberry to stay in touch with the real world.
    To stay in touch with the real world.people need to PUT DOWN the blackberry !

    How idiotic that he thinks text technology keeps you in touch better than simply talking to someone.

    January 8, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Cyril

    Yeah good idea use a foreign commmunicarion service for presidential emails

    Duh

    January 8, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Rob

    I work for RIM.

    I am not sure how suddenly BlackBerry smartphones have become 'insecure'. They are the most secure devices on the planet. Remeber when India said it would not allow BlackBerry's in the country as they could not obtain information from them?

    Someone better tell the CIA and the Pentagon that BlackBerry's are insecure so they can stop using them!!

    January 8, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Kevin

    I say he keeps it and anyone who hacks it serves a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Maybe that'll stop some of these punk hackers with nothing better to do than interfere and ruin peoples lives. Life sentencesfor those who start viruses too. Just thought I'd through that in there

    January 8, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. AL

    It's 2008 for crying out loud, let him keep his blackberry. I'm sure when they went from poney express to mail it was something new they had to get use to. Computers were propably even harder to adapt to.. I though we want to bring this country forward, not backward.. Go Obama, keep your blackberry!

    January 8, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. Anonymous

    Let the man keep it. What's it to everyone? Who caresssssssssssss? It will obviously be monitored and he's not stupid, he won't use it for secure information. If you have a blackberry you understand why he doesn't want to lose it lol
    If you dont, and you're just mad bc you voted for McCain then your opinion doesn't so much matter.

    January 8, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. me

    He should keep the blackberry, we've HAD an uninformed President for the last 8 years. THAT'S what happens when you have to rely on other people to feed you only what they think you want to hear. Obama is more realistic and capable of scouring the news and getting the information he needs. FAST. no middleman to edit for him. Like others have said, there is no need for him to REPLY to anything received through the blackberry. He COULD rely on staff to send out replies, ending any security concerns.

    January 8, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. peoplearedumb

    Reading this thread shows just how stupid people are in America. It is not about sending security codes you idiots. Email is one thing, but so is the phone and internet browswer. Some 17 year old computer geek can hack that information and it can fall into the wrong hands. I am talking about contact numbers of his family, friends, relatives that people can track. Websites he visits, places where he may go, places his family may go. We do not need people finding out this information which can lead to kidnappings or plots of violence. That is not even considering all the other sensitive information about the country. For safety reasons, he must surrender it. For the safety of his family, himself and for Americans.

    January 8, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. vern

    for those of you commenting and don't have a blk berry you don't have a clue how addictive it can be...I feel sorry for Obama if they try and take it...

    January 8, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. Crackberry Addict

    I say give up the Crackberry and get an iPhone instead!

    January 8, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. Neverending

    Doesn't he have a RED phone that anyone can get a hold of him in the oval office. He doesn't need a Blackberry and it would be rediclous for him to keep it if he is the President of the United States. It would be a danger to the USA to keep it.

    January 8, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. Cindy Sage

    The use of BlackBerry units and other PDAs is likely to be physiologically addictive based on many published studies linking exposures to radiofrequency/microwave radiation and extremely low-frequency radiation to effects on the endogenous opioid system of the brain (the addictive center of the brain). The widespread use of PDAs is a health concern. Joking references to "crackberry" addiction are probably on target. Obama and others who are in leadership positions have health issues to worry about with constant use of them, as well as security issues. The July 2007 issue of Bioelectromagnetics Vol 28, No. 5 (a scientific journal) has an article on the exposures and possible risks of such devices.

    January 8, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. N. S. Huntsville, Al

    I agree with Tom in this day and age they should have ways to that the President of USA can communicate with any device he needs to. USA step your game up.

    January 8, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. www.kazurisana.com

    He needs to send Michelle and the girls a "I Love You" text message once in a while.

    He is still a hubby to Michelle and Pa to Malia and Sasha, and they will be worrying about him when he is away at work.

    I know Michelle will be wanting to know if Barack has eaten his sandwich and the girls will want to know if they can get a raise on their allowance!

    Come on people, let the gentleman keep his gadget. he will most likely be texting Michelle anyway!!

    January 8, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. gary n.

    @ Sarah for America

    Stuff it already.

    January 8, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. Thou shalt not covet

    I'd rather have him carry a blackberry than wear a dunce cap.

    January 8, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. Bob Foley

    Some people need to get out of the 19th Century. Simply enough, this man may want to email his wife about dinner or his friends about a Chicago Bulls game, check the latest news, look at a calendar, listen to some tunes, etc. None of these items have anything to do with national security.

    Keep your Blackberry Mr. President.

    January 8, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. Neverending

    Does he have a RED phone that anyone can get a hold of him in the oval office. He doesn't need a Blackberry and it would be rediclous for him to keep it if he is the President of the United States. It would be a danger to the USA to keep it.

    January 8, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. Steve

    Maybe this is a step in the right direction – Obama wants to stay in touch with the real world, and this is an ideal way of doing it....how better a way to hear about what's going on, and get opinions of the American people? Make his Blackberry secure and let him use it, for the benefit of the President and the people of the U.S.

    January 8, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. Franky

    I don't blame my boy but Blackberries do get hacked. I hope he does the right thing...

    Plus, do what I do! Just write everything down...you think I trust this computer?? Please!!

    January 8, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
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