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. arc, Lugano CH

    Toorey January 8th, 2009 11:41 am ET
    Don't take away His direct link to HAMAS, please. How will He be able to operate without those advisors?
    Like you knew who HAMAS were before this past week.

    All you thought you knew before this past Monday was that all Arabs and all Muslims are terrorists. And that you are scared to death of them. Because, as an uninformed Conservative coward, you'd rather hate than, lord forbid, educate yourself.

    Stupid 'Country First' Bigot,

    January 8, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. !@#$%^&*()_

    how can you expect a leader of any country, much less this one, to function without email. In a time when the average person can't live without their computer or cell phone, you expect the president to do just that. it would seem they should be able to come up with a more secure encrypted version of the blackberry or simular device the president could use.

    January 8, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. Mary

    If Obama wants to keep "in touch with the regular people", have his blackberry get in touch with MY blackberry. Think that's gonna happen????

    January 8, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. Allie

    Rules are rules- he should try to set an example for the country, and his children, by complying- instead he's proving the American attitude of "I'm entitled" and "The rules don't apply to me." If the Secret Service wants him to give up the Blackberry, they obviously have good reason. Hasn't his Twitter account been hacked before? It's for his own saftey, as well as the safety of the whole country! Great, he's not even in office yet and already rebelling.

    January 8, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  5. Contrary Mary

    js...my two cents worth....how many of us are President???? Thats the whole issue not what us common peasants will and can do. We can live a normal life cause we ain't in office! Get a clue!

    January 8, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  6. Peace

    If they have managed to build a special ride for him, why not a special blackberry without in-built GPS.

    January 8, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Hannah Clarke

    What an idiot – obviously the Secret Service are trying to keep him – the leader of our country safe. What a selfish selfish thing for him to do.

    January 8, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. Effra

    How does President-Select Obama compromise national security? Let me count the ways . . .

    January 8, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. MikeH

    A lot of strange posts here from the anti-Obama crowd.

    I guess it's a stretch to find something negative to write about, that has any substance, concerning the use of a Blackberry .

    Besides hacking his personal messages, (and presuming he won't send out any national secrets by Blackberry) what's the major security complaint that the Secret Service has? The article wasn't clear.

    January 8, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. Lisa - Atlanta, GA

    POTUS Blackberry + Hi Tech bad guys + Triangulation = Direct hit and no more POTUS. . .

    Give it up. We need you too much to take such an early risk on your life. There is too much work to do. There is another way to keep in touch with the commoners. But I gotta love his tenacity. The characteristic will come in handy. . .

    January 8, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. MikeH

    Thanks js, you answered my questions before I finished writing them.

    January 8, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. Weep for the future

    Oh man, I hope that this isn't an accurate representation of the current voters in this country. I truly weep for my future.

    January 8, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Matt

    It's ok...there's still Crunchberries...

    January 8, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. Charlize

    They should let him use it, only for personal use, not president-related stuff, so its use doesn't become a security breach. He could use a made-up name so only his family and friends know it's him. If some scumbag hacker finds it out, a new identity and device would be given to Mr. Obama and so on. Please weigh this suggestion, Secret Service, if you are reading this!

    January 8, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. chelle

    Oh please....the CEO's of major corps are hackable too and yet they have Blackberry's too. As long as Obama isn't using it to discuss items of national security, who cares?? He isn't whining – he wants to be able to text his friends and family

    January 8, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. Bob

    I agree with Obama. The President needs to have ways to stay in touch with mainstream America. Find a way for him to keep his Blackberry.


    January 8, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. Paul

    Hang in there Barac!! You are so right. You will only get filtered American feelings if they have their way and before you know it, you will be like the rest of our elected officials–TRUTHFULLY UNINFORMED.

    January 8, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. Susie

    Sure, let's throw our 21st century president back into the 20th with other world leaders such as Putin who have never sent an email. Why would our government handicap Mr. Obama in such a way! He needs to have contact with his advisors and family and they with him. If he can't text "XOXO" to a daughter, he's at a real disadvantage. Being a parent these days means instant access both ways. Hopefully he doesn't give it up without a fight and the Secret Service can find some means of scrambling or obfuscating his address adequately.

    January 8, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. Larry

    That's what I want in a President--COUNTRY FIRST-well that's why I didn't vote for him-It's OBAMA FIRST--Everyone has told him it's NOT in our Nations interest--HE DOESN"T CARE,HE SAID SO !!!

    January 8, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. yellow dog democrat

    You guys that won't give up your guns may understand "Just a tad" – probably not! we all have our vices and It would be like me not going to the cnn blogs and getting "my fix"

    Although I believe the President Elect is much more intelligent with what his communication needs are – I'm sure he will be able to figure out a way to maintain his finger on the pulse and his security issues also

    The rest of my "big meanies" just back off you are horrible!!

    January 8, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. Raymond

    If the Blackberry is going, why not also take away all his computers, phones and his pencils and pens? I think his amount of security restrictions are excessive.

    January 8, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  22. BoJo

    He just needs something to do while he chain smokes outside the White House

    January 8, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. Rick

    Who cares?

    January 8, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. Matt

    "They can have my Blackberry when they pry it out of my cold dead hands!"

    The secret service better watch out if they try to take it- remember, Obama's tough and wiry!

    January 8, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  25. Toby

    People are really hateful in their communications on here. Would you be so hateful & rude if you were talking face to face with that person?

    January 8, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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