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)

    I say let him keep it and have it encrypted. If we can hold on to nuclear secrets, why not secure a simple communication device?

    I voted for a president who is connected.

    The era of low information, President George W. Bush, and old, rich people telling me what's good for my country is over.


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

    Thursday, January 01, 2009 Time 4:35 AM
    If I had the money, I would hire a law firm, to file a law suit against Westmoreland County Housing Authority and Allegheny Housing Rehabilitation Corporation. As you read in letters to Governor Rendell, concerning crimes against humanity, these two entities were warned and they don't seem to care about security for their tenants.

    I believe I have been able to obtain enought evidence for a criminal negligence law suit.

    January 8, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. Coherent1

    To the people who believe Obama is throwing a tantrum or is somehow hypocritcal because of the blackberry thingy; you are a bunch of whiners, just as Phil Gramm suggests. I'm sure he simply wants to keep up with the news across the nation and around the world. Geez! I say, disable the GPS and let him keep his blackberry for news and informational purposes.

    January 8, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  4. Scott

    I guess I thought Obama was the president, and the Secret Service was supposed to work around him based on what he decided. Sounds like in this case the service should be finding a way to help make it safe, not forbiding it.

    January 8, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. TCM

    G.R.I.T.S. – Girl Raised in the South January 8th, 2009 10:18 am ET

    As long as he remembers Blackberries aren't totally secure, and doesn't send any state secrets, why shouldn't he be allowed to keep it to e-mail friends and check the internet? It's not like he's going to just be sitting in an office all day like the rest of us with easy access to the 'net!

    The point is, he's a target for all to try and intercept...it's not you or me on our device; it's the president, get it? Sorry, but that job comes with strict limitations. IF he can't handle it...which time will show is true, he needs to step aside. I'm sure Biden's licking his chops....

    Proud American – Aren't you on his fab 5?

    January 8, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. apostle

    Friday, February 8th, 2008
    Allegheny Housing Rehabilitation Corporation (AHRCO) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    On this day around 2:00 P.M., I Gary E. Savage, called AHRCO and talked with Cathy Bonaroti about illegal drugs being sold on their property of Valley Royal Court Apartments New Kensington, PA. I gave her my website and ask her to review as we were speaking, but she said she would review later. I then said, I am serious about the drug problem, and I am planning to sue NAACP, and I said I will sue AHRCO, if they don’t stop the illegal drug sells, on their property at VRCA New Kensington, PA.

    Gary E. Savage

    January 8, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. apostle

    Friday, April 11th, 2008
    Drug dealers still selling illegal street drugs on the property of Valley Royal Court Apartments New Kensington, PA.


    Gary E Savage

    January 8, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. mel

    To those who thinks he is the "one".
    I bet in 4 years, maybe 2, you cannot find anyone who voted for him.

    January 8, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. thomas fletcher

    Obama-get over it.

    January 8, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  10. Barry

    I will not give up my Pacifer!!

    January 8, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Newport News, VA

    He's the most powerful man in the world and I find it strange to believe there isn't a secure way to protect the President's e-mail accounts. Geesh!

    January 8, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. apostle

    Saturday, November 22, 2008


    The future of the United States concerning life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...

    Education and work for all people. You ask how can this be?. All people will have an education and will learn a trade. How can all work, you ask. Not every person would work every day. You might only work one week out of every three months.

    All people would have all that they need. This is our GOD given rights concerning our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    January 8, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. Tyler

    Forget the Blackberry – he needs an IPhone!

    January 8, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. apostle

    The World has been warned about the return of Messiah and this still goes on. The Bible teaches you will be warned and most people will not believe and repent, and will be left behind concerning the rapture.

    I used to feel sorry for those that will be left behind, but I don't anymore.

    Look at that little child, all because of GREED.

    January 8, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. apostle

    The Bible teaches if you cause harm to children, it would be better for you to tie a rope around your necks with a big rock on the other end, and cast yourselves into the water, then to be alive when the last rapture occurs.

    The United States governments and churches have been guilty for the past 62 years for allowing sodom and gomorrah life styles, that I talk about on this website below, which are crimes against humanity, and this is a very serious security issue.

    Security; precautions taken to guard against crime.

    January 8, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. Dave

    What's the difference between President-elect Obama sending e-mails via his BlackBerry and his aides sending the same information via the same "insecure" channel?

    January 8, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. Elocin

    What successful person in today's world does not use a Blackberry?! Washington and the White House need to catch up to the 21st Century! How is America suppose to stay ahead and continue to be the best without keeping up with the times!!

    January 8, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. david

    I think he should be allowed to use email as long as it's used in a reasonable fashion. As someone already pointed out, email can be stolen. I absolutely agree with that. Any email should be considered public and always used knowing it could become public. Obviously secrets involving National Security should never be sent in email. There are a lot of mundane things that are probably appropriate for email and would be far more efficient than trying to reach people by phone.

    As far as a BlackBerry itself, I think he should replace it with something harder to hack.

    January 8, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. apostle



    The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the full light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you choose, what you think, and what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny…it is the light that guides your way."

    Heraclitus Greek Poet, Philosopher

    January 8, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. roger dowdle, lockhart, Tx

    I realize that this is a strange concept, but it is possible that Obama intends to be honest and above board, and feels he has nothing to worry about if his emails become public. It isn't as though he will be mailing national sec. items to people who are not involved. Yes, the security will have to be improved to prevent interception, but the US intelligent community should be able to do that.

    January 8, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  21. yvonne

    okay, people take a chill pill! this man is ONLY human! he does have his addictions like every one else. some HAVE to have coffee, some gum, some candy, some cigarettes, some cigars, and almost every one has an addition with cell phone and electronics. get over yourselves! stop trying to think just b/c he is going to be president, he is God Like. He's NOT! he is only human and trying to do the best for us here. hell, just like a parent, stressing and worrying. how many of you smoke or drink! at least he isn't a raging acoholic like MANY of us joe shmoes!

    January 8, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. Former Republican




    January 8, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. carlo

    You conservative people jump all over the stupidest things. The ticker post is supposed to be light-hearted, but you are so desperate to find something to justify an "a ha" moment, you post some of the most ascinine comments. It's like reading the comments section over at Politico. Boy are there some real loons over there.

    January 8, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. Larry in Houston TX

    WoW !! Some of these comments !!! WoW !

    well, from what I've heard over the last few months, it will be 20 years
    before any Republican wins the White House…..We in Houston have a Mayor that is In his 2nd term….and people in Houston would love to have him IN again, if they could…AND YES, HE'S A DEMOCRAT !!!

    January 8, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  25. Judy Pennell

    I command Mr. Obama for wanting to keep in touch with the people. I think a lot of presidents don't know whats going on in the outside world with the common man, once they became president.

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