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. JeffRob

    Occasionally, in spite of ourselves, we somehow manage to stumble forward in the right direction.

    January 8, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. Republican elitism is ruining our family business

    George W. Bush is a dingle berry.

    January 8, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. Bob Hazy

    This is a good example where we need to push innovation to accommodate need. Make the unit more secure, and let RIM share that with the broader community. Everyone benefits. It's time to stop managing from constraints, and to start managing from possibilities. I like that Obama asks, "Why not?", rather than taking the easy route.

    January 8, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. Proud American

    I hear he need to keep the Blackberry so he can keep up with Idiot republicans.

    January 8, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. Mari

    @ WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW...........

    Your posts are consistent at least, always hateful, mean or just a bunch of lies.

    MOST if not ALL the CONservatives claim to be Christian, I do not know what Bible you are reading........ but JESUS is clear .........

    Love one another as I have loved you!

    Also one of the the Ten Commandments is "do not bear FALSE witness" which is something the Republicans are not so good at.

    HATE.......LIES........ FEAR..........AND ..........DIVISION.


    January 8, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. Brian From Fort Mill, SC

    I hate to say it, but he's going to need to ditch the Blackberry.
    One thing we need to understand: If a hacker really wants to get in, he'll get in. There's always a back door. Ask anybody in the IT business.

    I'm sorry, Obama, but the Blackberry has to go, along with your driving priveleges.

    January 8, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  7. MJC

    Sorry first time I left a comment,
    To Al ...do you not understand your comment.."Every President has stayed at the Blair House why isn't President Elect Barack Obama and his Family staying there?"
    He is going to stay there, G.W. is not trying to keep "the man down"
    it was already reserved when it was requested (by Obama) outside the alotted time.
    Maybe you think it is a entitlement. Catch a clue

    January 8, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. marquisinms

    Those who disagree with Obama probably don't own a Blackberry. They are highly addictive! I don't know what took me so long getting mine! Lighten up folks 🙂

    January 8, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. Pete

    " He is just very internet savvy and that's what I like about our new president versus the republicans and Bush. They are not up to speed when it comes to technology. "

    The Secret Service, the White House, and matters of national security are what keep the highest executive in government from using a WIRELESS and potentially UNSECURED email system. This includes past presidents.

    This is the highest office in the land. Messages to and from the president often come on paper and through the Chief of Staff so as to avoid off-the-cuff replies and keep things official. No one is saying that we shouldn't have the President join the real world and shoot from the hip his replies, but, there is a delicate balance between national security and Presidential "savvy".

    January 8, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. xcusme

    Time to give up the Crackberry. It's part of being POTUS.

    January 8, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. Mike Jones

    For the person who said Republicans and Bush are behind on technology and so forth, you are an idiot. Liberals always try and toss everyone under some kind of brand. Because Bush was more concerned with doing his job instead of using a cell phone you think we are behind on the times? Could it be he had more important things to fight about instead of the right to use a blackberry? There is a reason for them telling him not to use such a thing and for Obama to fight them on it shows how he feels he can do whatever he wants. The secret service is trying to protect him and the country. How about he helps them help him and us.

    I was wrong about Obama, by the way. I said the only thing he wanted to fight for was making America a welfare state. Well, turns out, he also wants to fight to use his cell phone. What a joke.

    January 8, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  12. Jen

    I'm very connected with the world and I dont have a Blackberry, cell phone or IPod. I have email that I can check daily as well as Internet but I dont need a constant flow of information that for all intents and purposes is flawed/shaped by the media when the POTUS should be listening to his advisors and experienced personnel. The info he recvs from his Blackberry is probably not going to be worthwhile compared to that of the real people he deals with daily. If his 'addiction' interferes with his daily interaction with the public, get rid of it. The POTUS was never meant to read every email, letter or shake every hand. His job is to guide the country as a whole and doing so via Blackberry is not progressive, its alienating. Barack is not special; he's human and will make mistakes like the rest of us.

    January 8, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  13. Brian From Fort Mill, SC

    George E January 8th, 2009 10:22 am ET

    Maybe Michelle can let him use hers.
    She might have to give hers up, too. And cellphones for the kids? Forget it!

    January 8, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  14. Monique

    The man is not an idiot, I doubt that he intends to send state secrets over his blackberry or love notes to his wife, and I'm sure he knows that whatever he sends could one day end up on the front page of the Post! Let him have the blackberry, what does it matter if they hack it if he doesn't conduct the country's business on it? As long as he remembers that whatever he puts on it has the potential to be leaked, I say let him be...it's nice to have a saavy president again!!

    January 8, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  15. Susan of the Dakotas

    I think he should keep his Blackberry as I think he has the good sense to know how to use it with security issues in mind (of course, incoming mail may be more the issue then).

    January 8, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  16. Brian From Fort Mill, SC

    Matt January 8th, 2009 10:30 am ET

    I blame John McCain…after all, he invented the stupid thing.
    I also blame Al Gore. He invented the internet! 🙂

    January 8, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  17. Viv

    Why can't he keep his blackberry? Everybody knows that nothing is really secure. Obama is intelligent enough to know that he cannot use his blackberry for state matters. Besides, the blackberry might be his constant connection to his kids as he is going to be constantly busy.

    January 8, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  18. Lady

    Everytime I read comments people leave I feel so bad for all Americans. I never realized we, you, are so bitter and closed minded. DON'T WE WANT A PRESIDENT TO BE DIFFERENT? Look where staying the same has gotten us. Small and closed minded. National security has a problem with internet connections? Good grief it's 2009 people. If you can't protect a man because he has a phone then how are you going to protect America? There are bad people out there, granted, but they aren't going anywhere and they are getting smarter. Isn't it time our National Securty caught up????

    January 8, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  19. MT

    I don't blame him for not wanting to stay in tune with what's going on! He is the President of the future! I'm with u on that one Mr. President Elect.

    January 8, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  20. BB

    The GPS capabilities built into most BlackBerries might provide an accurate target for those that will want to do our President harm.

    Think, people.

    January 8, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  21. AndyL

    @ Obama-mama, first of all "heirs" are people who inherit your money when you die. Perhaps you meant "he does not put on airs" which would mean a facade. You can go to dictionary.com if you don't understand some of the words I use.
    Second, I have been in the IT business for 20 years and for all you young hip people who think that Obama's use of a blackberry is cool, these devices can be easily compromised and given his position, would be a major security risk.

    January 8, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  22. Scott

    Wow, half the posters here are really bitter, without the man even having gotten into office yet. You're reading a WHOLE LOT into this whole thing.

    On the other hand, Mr. Obama, your tax-dollar funded salaried time should not be going towards Twitter updates. 🙂

    January 8, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  23. Catherine

    The Secret Services's point is that it is hackable, so why are people asking what he has to hide? I think as long as there isn't any state business or anything about his itinerary transmitted, let him have his BlackBerry. Maybe his family uses it to contact him when he is on the road. There's no harm in that. Although, if he takes it out during a state dinner, I hope the Agent in Charge slaps him upside the head and tells him he's being rude. (Some cell phone/BlackBerry users are a little clueless when it comes to being polite with their technology use.)

    January 8, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. BG

    stay in touch with us, Barak..you are right on

    January 8, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  25. ivonne

    He wanted to be president!!! Now he will see it's not as easy as people think!!!!

    January 8, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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