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. Alfred

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

    January 8, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. BS not Maverick


    January 8, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. John from New York

    On the other hand, I'm thinking..."Does Obama understand that he is about to become President of the United States?"

    January 8, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. Seriously

    I like this part. You know, you could never connect to President Bush whenever he stepped off a plane or helicopter because his chest and nose were too high in the air.

    Obama is making a good point here. This is the 21st century and Presidents need to be connected like the rest of the country. Maybe it will make things go a little faster than usual and the federal government will be a little more green in the process.

    January 8, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. Clinton Fringer

    Oh......just another quick add. Did no one tell him that from now on everything on his phone, e-mail, Blackberry is all public record? He might also realize that as Commander in Chief there are security issues that need not be discussed on a mobile phone.

    January 8, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  6. Strom09

    you people should be happy the next president takes that approach to staying grounded and connected. maybe he can use the internet(s), or "the google" to check and see how little jobs are out there.

    Chomsky / Vidal 08

    January 8, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  7. Carl

    The man is real. He wants to stay connected to the people. He is smart educated. I can see why he wants to hold on to his Blackberry. But lets not forget, he knows he has to put it down. He our Prez!!!! I wish him well.

    January 8, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. atlas

    Please BO, put the Crackberry down. You are not a child....or maybe you are.

    He will not be able to check his facebook 24/7 if he's w/out his precious crackberry.....c'mon!!!

    January 8, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. Lynn in NM

    Gee, life's rough. If he didn't want to give up his little luxuries, he shouldn't have run for President. Poor guy! What a hard lesson to learn.

    January 8, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. Empty suit, empty promises

    There you Obambots go, since I work in the field of IT, this data can be stolen no matter how well it is encrypted or secured, it is a NEVER ENDING BATTLE against hackers.

    There are rules and reasons why this is, but he is "so a man of he people and just like us".

    Maybe he needs his blackberry to think just like he needs a teleprompter to uh, uh, uh speak without saying um, um, uh, uh every other word (maybe that's why he "you know" likes Princess Caroline).

    This garbage with agreeing with every thought, idea and word that this person says over and over is totally scary, but after the exit polls suggested that many Obama voters in college didn't know who the Speaker of the house or the Secretary of Defense was along with William Ayers, pretty much says it all.

    Who vetted Richardson, Keith Olbermann?

    January 8, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. wirsiy nsolo

    I feel the president should stay connected to the rest of the world. don't they have a way of securing his line from hackers. fight for your blackberry Mr president.

    January 8, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. Osmo

    If this was Bush refusing to give up something, everyone would be calling him names and going on the offensive after him. But since you democrats are such hypocrites, they think it's okay for their new lord and savior to break the rules.

    The fact is that it's a potential security breach. He's just being stubborn. He can keep in touch other ways.

    And I'd just like to point out that he is supposedly all about "staying in touch with the people" and that's why he wants to keep his BlackBerry, but during the actual election, it was Obama who declined McCain's town hall meetings that were designed SPECIFICALLY to get into touch with "the people".

    January 8, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  13. BS not Maverick

    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.

    January 8, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  14. Earl

    technology is full of evil boojums keep them away from my president

    what does science give you


    January 8, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  15. scott

    i worked hard for the President-elect's victory, but he needs to get over this addiction to his balckberry. Their are other ways of staying in touch with the people than through a blackberry. National Security should be first in his mind, not his blackberry addiction.

    January 8, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. Just

    I agree, that any thing that keeps out President grounded is a good thing. After 8 years of Darth Vader "Dick Cheney" and GW "Not "George Washington". A president, with new needs and fresh now a day approaches is need. JFK, brought a fresh new hope to the country with young moving forward idea's. These to old outdate politians that date back to the 60's and the means of thinking is like going to Epcot Center, nothing new just the same old rides for a higher price. Let him keep his Blackberry, just update the means in which he communicates through it.

    January 8, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. F#@%k'em barak!

    outmanuever the treasonous infiltrators surrounding you

    who think they can puppeteer you into illegal, never mind immoral and inhumane, agendas of theirs.

    January 8, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  18. Don, NY

    "ways where, you know, people aren't just complimenting you or standing up when you enter into a room"

    Don't flatter yourself, BO. Millions of us would never compliment you or stand when you enter a room. And I'm a registered Democrat!

    January 8, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  19. crackberry Secret Service

    There are many ways around this issue. Why can't Obama have a blackberry that is secure. I actually have 3 blackberry's(for work) none of them are tied to me, my personal address, or corporate address... it is for me to stay in touch with certain people.. that can not know where i am...

    January 8, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  20. Wow

    Come on, do you really think as Pres. he won't stay in touch with the real world? Is he going to wake up one day and say, holy crap, I just saw on the TV that the economy in the US sucks?

    He is the POTUS. He can have any information he needs without looking at his crackberry.

    January 8, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. Chris

    Let him use his BB. He is a smart, wise adult and he can abide by some common sense rules about what not to send. It is time that we had a President who was not Isolated by his office. Isn't that what many of us have been complaining about in the past. Let Barack live in the real world to the extent that he can. We will all be the better for it. and he is wise enough not to use it foolishly

    January 8, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  22. cynthia

    i voted for obama but i agree with secret service – there is no way to keep his blackberry secure – NO WAY – whatever he says to people via email will be a issue as they would have to secure everyone he emails email/blackberry – more problems than it is worth – you just can't do it....sorry – it is a matter of national security

    January 8, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. RIck

    It is quite evident that this new President wants to stay in tune with the people. Maybe as a compromise, he can have one of his aides or his body double carry his blackberry for him if those immediately around him do not have to give up theirs. He can have them correspond with him verbally...Oh ....that kinda sounds silly doesn't it.

    He should have his blackberry.

    January 8, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. Matt

    I blame John McCain...after all, he invented the stupid thing.

    January 8, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. Aaron G in Charlottesville

    I'm surprised W knew how to use email. I would love to see his email address...probably something like Oil4US4W@yahoo.com

    January 8, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
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