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. Alan

    Now that is just plain sad. Here we are invading other countries under the guise of defending our way of life but the President can't send email or use a blackberry.

    January 8, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. Dan

    The administration should contract RIMM to make a super-secure blackberry, just like they've contracted with Cadillac to create a tank/limo. I don't see how it's any different.

    January 8, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. swanspirit

    He needs to lose the blackberry ; he talks about SACRIFICE AND BELT TIGHTENING

    well serve by example you whiner cry baby, guess that is too much too ask

    January 8, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Be progressive

    I guess part of conservative definition is to resist anything that may be different or a risky move to try and advance. People, 75% of office workers have blackberry's. The PE is not asking to keep it for secret military notes or confidential correspondence. He's trying to stay in touch with the world as he travels. Which, as president, he will be doing a lot.

    Basically, it's not about following the "rules." It's about progression to keep up with an ever changing world. Wouldn't we want our president to have every means of connection possible!?

    January 8, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. Mother Nature

    I believe he should keep his blackberry!! We need change, we need a president who is in touch and in touch with REALITY, this is the future!!
    He is elected for the people by the people let him do his job, CHANGE! Maybe this should be standard issue for all future presidents...why not?
    You go Obama god bless you! Stand up for change start with your freedom to have a blackberry!!
    The land of the free and the home of the brave!

    January 8, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. Brandon

    I always find it funny that when CNN writes an article about a total non-issue, as long as it involves Obama, all the bitter right-wing drones come on here and actually try and make something negative out of it.

    "Maybe he has something to hide"?

    Seriously?

    Why are your ward attendants letting you psychos access a computer? You all make me sick.

    January 8, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. B

    Because a Blackberry and all "wireless" devices use a wireless signal, it may be possible for that signal to be ID'd for his device and then tracked and used for weapon targeting. I don't know this for a fact but it seems plausable as the reason why the Secret Service wants it gone.

    January 8, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    It's not called a "crackberry" for nothing. Just ask anyone who uses one, if they would give it up. I think NOT!!!

    January 8, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. JB

    How else is he gonna gain 3 inches or get free viagra?

    January 8, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. Brian From Fort Mill, SC

    Do any of you know what rights a President gives up when he's in office? It's like being in prison, except the food is better.
    1. He can't drive himself.
    2. He can't go to the bathroom by himself.
    3. When he's in the Oval Office, someone locks him in. The Oval Office is actually a jail cell.

    Giving up your blackberry should be a piece of cake compared to that.

    January 8, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. Sidney P.

    Why are so many of you so hateful about this? Sure are a lot of sore losers out there!!!

    I think Obama could be trusted not to divulge state secrets on his Blackberry.

    January 8, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Nick

    I think there has to be a way that he can keep it, even if it's in the hands of an aide or something. Think of it like a CEO that has a secretary write all of their emails and answer all of their calls, and on occasion might send out an email personally.

    This was a guy that pretty much revolved around the web. Eventually it's going to be even more difficult to remove yourself from it.

    January 8, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. Sarah Palin BF

    my president is black!!!!!.....hurrray

    January 8, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. carment

    I can't believe that a country with some of the best IT people in the world can't find a way to secure his blackberry – even if it took creating a 512-bit instead of the standard 128-bit algorithm.

    What is the point of moving into the future, with all the new things yet to be invented/developed, if heads of countries are restricted to continuing to use the horse-and-buggy methods?

    January 8, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. swanspirit

    He talks about SACRIFICE for the people ... and BELT tightening , well serve by example you whiny crybaby give it UP

    January 8, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. yellow dog democrat

    Welcome to the 21st century GOP!! get over it-technology is here to stay – just like indoor plumbing!

    January 8, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. Erik in SD

    @ Empty suit .... Would you rather have a president that says "um" while he searches for the right word to use, or a president that can't pronounce foreign leaders' names, let alone English words like "misunderestimate?" Get a grip, dude.

    January 8, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. Franky

    Alright guys, we are out baby!! Time to get this party started!!

    Good luck on your day and we'll see what happens...

    January 8, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  19. Larry

    Obama is not concerned about the Nations security .

    January 8, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. DPW

    Black Berry Smack Berry.... he is dammed if he do and dammed if he doesn't. Can't please everybody.. Good that he wants to stay grounded though. That says alot about his up bringing... Yea, Barak... You go boy!!!!

    January 8, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. Lynn, SiouxFalls, SD

    Hooray for Obama!!! The technology is there to keep his Blackberry safe.....just do it!!

    January 8, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Objective thinking

    cbenji: GPS isn't something you can just disable. It doesn't work the same way as GPS in cars where you just press a button and turn it off. If you have a cell phone that has no explicit GPS function, your cell phone company can still use a form of GPS to keep track of your exact location. If your cell phone is getting reception, then your cell phone's location is being revealed to your cell phone company.

    You ever watched Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay? Kumar makes a phone call and Harold throws his phone away. It's not like the cell phone had an active "Press this button to turn on GPS" function. If your cell phone has reception at all, your location is being tracked.

    So they can't just "turn GPS off." If they could, don't you think they would have just done that?

    January 8, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. E

    how would he check his facebook page if they took it away???

    January 8, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. educated Ron

    He needs to give it up, it can only be used against him. He could type hello to someone and the media will find a way to make it look like he said Hell from Obama to someone who is bitter.

    He will be the most scrutinized president in the history of america.

    January 8, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. B

    The Secret Service is responcible for his physical security and safety. Not the safety of his communications, files, etc. So what is the Secret Service worried about if not using the signal for targeting.

    January 8, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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