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. Contrary Mary

    Most people I know are struggling to find work, feed thier kids, and pay their bills. Typical wealthy blowhole showing off his toys!!! For the poor people? I think not. Wahhhh my blackberry, my blackberry...grow up Nobama and realize tantrums are seen as weak by other countries!!! You gonna buy us all a blackberry? That'd show how much you care about the poor people. Make us all equal! We'd be a blackberry nation...build monuments dedicated to blackberries. What a wonderful place that would be? Jeez and to think ppl actually voted for him...eyes rolling.

    January 8, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. Jamie

    Maybe he should create a one-way system of communication for himself... he could recieve emails, but not respond. Maybe having the ablity to "read" what is going on around him might help... then he could just pick up the telephone to respond.

    January 8, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. Gary (s.c.)

    Reply to Kevin who says he will around in 8 yrs.
    After some of you get your free wealth money you can buy your own blakberry

    January 8, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  4. the moma

    Wait a minute,are they saying Obama is the only person in power who has a blackberry? That can be hacked? What about Gates or Buffets people, aides, secretaries, lawyers? They have blackberrys that can't be hacked or they just don't have them? How about wall street brokers, or bankers? How about Obama's other people? His aides, cabinet, any one in Washington who works with him?Or are "they" saying he's just able to use intelligently?

    January 8, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  5. Patrick H

    Another example of how arrogant this guy is. We pay the Secret Service to guard our officials and country, and this guy thinks he knows better.

    January 8, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. NJ

    What an idiot

    January 8, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. No Digital Divide

    Give him mutilple (14) devices so he can recieve internet and email.

    The email he sends ONLY gets sent to a "re-keyer" , an admin, who re-enters (cut-n-pastes) his messages from a White House land account.

    Case Closed. President connected.

    January 8, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Brian ATL

    He needs to seek help for his addictions, including nicotine and cocaine. However, I don't see any problem with allowing him to use the BlackBerry for matters not relating to National Security. He can use it to keep in touch with his girlfriends and mistresses and that way keep it secret, and if it gets hacked no matters of national security will be exposed.

    January 8, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. mimi

    He should keep it.....He is bright enough to use it properly ....and shouldn't be forced to live in a bubble in this day and age.

    January 8, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. MD

    While most of the bloggers cheer Obama's "modernism" or "just like us folks"; I would disagree.

    As you tirelessly point out, he will be the President of the US.

    As we all know, communication technology is easily hacked.

    This seems like just another example of how little understanding Obama really has of the position he has been elected to.

    For most Obama supporters, ignorance is apparently bliss. For President Obama, ignorance is now dangerous to the nation.

    January 8, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. Mark

    Rather than pull the Blackberry away due to security concerns, why not actually improve the security?


    January 8, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. Matthew

    Keeping connected with the real world is the hardest thing about being President? Really?

    January 8, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. George

    Why didn't all these smart people run for President. If they are smarter than Bush and Obama as they claim to be?

    January 8, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. Rick

    let him keep it. Its not like he's going to be giving launch codes for some special missile somewhere, or be talking to leaders of the free world on it. Keep it Barry!

    January 8, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. Tony

    Go Barak

    January 8, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. Brenda C

    In case obama isn't aware there's this thing called a telephone and if he wants to keep in contact with anyone he can call them. He has to realize that everything he does and says will be watched or recorded. This is for American security. He needs to quit acting like a teenager and do what even his own lawyers are asking him to do. This is not a video game obama it's the real world. You will be President and I would rather American secrets be kept secret. I know you kool-aid drinkers are going to defend and claim he needs a personal life well he probably shouldn't have run for commander in chief if he wanted to live a normal life. There should be nothing he says that he couldn't say on a phone anyway don't ya think?

    January 8, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  17. RealityKing

    Can't quit smoking, Can't stop with the blackberry. One has to ask, what other addicitions is the corrupt media ignoring..

    January 8, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. apostle

    Sodom & Gomorrah Life Styles... Homosexuality / Prostitution / Drugs / Pronography / People Worshiping the devil
    Crimes Against Humanity... Mafia / Motor Cycle Gangs / Drug Gangs / Genocide / Famine / Greed / Poverty / Abortion / Alcoholism

    Churches and Governments... Anti-Christ / Anti-Jesus / Dens of Thieves

    To reclaim this nation for JESUS, we would need to use our military, sad but true.

    January 8, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. david goldman





    January 8, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Nobody wants to give up their blackberry and you can't blame Obama. All of us that having a living working brain are in touch with technology and are dependent upon it to stay in touch with the real world.

    January 8, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  21. Jacqueline

    We live in a technological age – almost paperless. Please let our new leader keep his prized technology. Surely there is an exception for the leader of the free world.

    Go Barack!

    January 8, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. 13 Days To Go

    Welcome to the Obama Show: Maybe he wants his blackberry because he doesn't have anything to hide!!

    January 8, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  23. apostle

    RESOLUTION or REVOLUTION ... I pray that people will try to reclaim this nation for Messiah or Jesus to most people. I volunteered for the Vietnam conflict, but I was refused to serve. Maybe this is why. In war you can come home alive, in a box, or on a cross. 2000 years ago they put my brother on a cross. I guess GOD had other plans for my future. The bible teaches that in the last years before the last "rapture", there will be an attempt to "legislate" the teaching of Jesus, into the same kind of governments that put Jesus on the cross 2000 years ago. When the rapture occurs by ufos, there will be those that will not believe, and stay here on this earth that will be destroyed by fire.

    To reclaim this nation for JESUS, we would need to use our military, sad but true.

    January 8, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  24. apostle

    Saturday, January 03, 2009 I was awakened by gun fire. This gun fire lasted around 30 miniutes. The gun at times was like a machine gun. I live in a small country community. Children live above me. I thought what fear this would cause these young children. I called 911 and they transfered me to Kittanning PA state police. They would not respond to my complaint. I got into my car and drove to were I thought the gun fire was coming from. I noticed an older lady around late seventies. I ask her if she heard the gun fire. She said yes. I ask her if this was good for children. She said if the person is on their own property, she said she has no problem with the gun fire. I thought this country will not change. Someday we all will reap what we have allowed, concerning this type of no concern for others.
    Gary E Savage

    January 8, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  25. mel

    When you think you are the Messiah, you can do NO wrong.
    Barack Hussein Obama thinks he is.
    He thinks the world revolves around him!!!

    January 8, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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