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. Lee S.

    Its time for President Obama to act like a President instead of trying to be everyone's best friend. Listen to your advisors, they might just actually know what they're talking about!

    January 8, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  2. Mike

    They should be able to find a way to fix the security issue so that Obama can keep in touch with the world. The very idea that he knows how and wants to use it should bring hope to people that he is different. These next 12 days can't go fast enough for me.

    January 8, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. Interested

    None of you realize how unsecure this item is no matter what they do.....but you know what, let him use it, and soon enough something bad will happen....just remember you made your negative comments 'cause you's wanted him to keep it...This is a joke......shouldn't you's be protesting in Oakland.

    January 8, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. Mark

    Give it up Barry!!! Quit being so stupid... Those who think the BB is secure – learn a little more about how the whole process works. Nice to know Barry thinks he is different from all previous presidents and doesn't have to follow the same rules (NOT!). Maybe the SS won't follow their policies and procedures.... everyone knows where that would lead...

    January 8, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. Cheri NW Arkansas

    Let the man have his Blackberry. I'm sure he isn't going to be sending emails on national security issues. Keep it Mr. Prez and don't let them tell you otherwise!

    January 8, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. Karen - Jan. 20th - Can't wait

    I totally understand... The blackberry is addicting and communication is so quick. Our government should be able to make his Blackberry total secure.

    January 8, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. jasmine

    John what in the world does giving an accaptance speech at the football stadium have to do with his Blackberry! Nada! The writer obviously had to write something and wrote this which in the grand scheme of our lives is insignifigant.

    January 8, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  8. Gary (s.c.)

    Every word that the president says should be public that way there would no be any coruption.

    January 8, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. Jina

    If they take away his Blackberry, maybe he can get an iPhone instead. They're much better phones (in my opinion anyways), plus he can get the cowbell app to play with during those long State dinners. 😀

    January 8, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. JJ12345

    Al January 8th, 2009 10:18 am ET

    Every President has stayed at the Blair House why isn't President Elect Barack Obama and his Family staying there? This is the aggervation I feel about the injustice ever time I here about things of this nature. President Bush has every means of keeping this tradition alive but he will not so much as lift a finger to help this man.
    As far as I have heard he will move into Blair House on the 15th which has been the traditional time.

    January 8, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  11. kate

    It's not only about security .. his e-mail will go on PUBLIC RECORD!! I hope they find a way out .. we need him to stay connected to ordinary people's every day lives.

    January 8, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  12. AnaB

    I completely understand how hard it would be to give up his blackberry, I don't own one myself, but I'd be lost without all of my gadgets, which I'm sure many would. And I like in his interview where he states that he wants to keep in touch with people outside the White House. But if it's going to pose any security risk which of course it could, I feel he may have to get rid of it.

    January 8, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. Alan

    Don, NY January 8th, 2009 10:29 am ET

    "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!

    Is that you, Hillary? Sheesh! Get over it. He will BE the PRESIDENT. If you fail to respect him you still should respect him. At least let him get into office and see what he does first fer cryin' out loud!

    January 8, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. Deb in Vegas

    I agree that Blackberry devices can be secured from hackers. However, the same signals used to wirelessly communicate can also be used to locate the Blackberry device. As good as the Secret Service may be at protecting the POTUS, it will just take one good sniper with good tech skills to find Soon-to-be President Obama in a crowd, anywhere, any time.

    The concern shouldn't be about hackers accessing information. PE Obama is an intelligent man who won't discuss national issues via a Blackberry device or any other device susceptible to hacking. The concern ishould be for his safety and the safety of his family from the plethora of nut jobs in the world who may feel they have something to prove by taking him out.

    January 8, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. espian

    Let's see now. How can I force MY pet peeves/issues into this conversation?

    January 8, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  16. Maryann Rose

    It's mainly elderly people posting here that think technology is bad.

    They just don't understand these new fangled gadgets that the young 'uns are using these days.


    January 8, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  17. Lillie

    Please allow our new PRESIDENT to keep his BLACKBERRY!!! And to all the HATERS....get over IT!

    January 8, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  18. bluebird

    What a child he is. National security seems to be lost on him.

    January 8, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. Angry Educated B Guy

    To Mr or Miss:


    I sincerely laugh really hard every time you post.
    Do you give any actual thought to your statements?

    Obama must really scare you.

    He is the president elect....he is charismatic, very well educated and a family man..THAT'S why he won the election...more people liked him...donated and said, "We feel this man would be the best POTUS"

    Get over your silly fears...or better yet, try to realize why you feel them.

    January 8, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. ran

    Let him keep it and he can use it for personal issues not for any Gov. issues. Everyone wil not know where he is at all times anyway. I like the idea he wants to keep in touch with us simple folks.

    January 8, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |

    Some of these comments are funny.

    How would you like him to communicate? Pony Express, Snail Mail?

    Stop trying to justify turning him into a low information President sealed within an airtight bubble of "follow the rules" or "national security".

    His request is to use the Blackberry for communication with regular people, NOT to conduct official business.

    Stop trying to dumb him down into a version of Bush's disconnected and insulated last 8 years.

    January 8, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. dave

    Having a electronic "identity" allows him to get "real" feedback from the people rather than having people telling him what they think he wants to hear. I say keep it and get an annonomous account. Im so impressed with Obama... I feal confident for a change.

    January 8, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  23. beanne

    He needs to stop whinning about it and give it up...it will put him in danger and his family.......if the CIA/FBI can track people by their blackberries and cell phones then so can the bad guys...give it up "O" you now belong to us the people your life is no longer your own...you wanted this job and now you got it...if this is any indication of what type of president he is going to be then I think were all in for a major wake up call.....and it may even be on our blackberries........

    January 8, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. Kevin

    You can't tell me that the IT people at the White House can't set him up with a Blackberry securely. If they can't, maybe he needs to get someone in charge of IT that can.

    January 8, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. Steve Parsons

    If President-Elect Obama wants a hand-held device for communicating, at least he could get one that isn't run by God knows who in Canada. No offense to our northern neighbors, but why in the world would anyone allow the President of the United States to use an information system for communication that is housed in a foreign country. This makes no sense whatsoever.

    January 8, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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