September 8th, 2009
05:15 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama bemoans 'the bubble,' extols having a 'home office'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Being one of the most powerful people in the world isn't always what it seems.

That's what President Obama told a Virginia high school student Tuesday who asked how Obama's life had changed since becoming the nation's chief executive.

"When you announce that you're running for president, a lot more people know you," the president said at a gathering with students before his nationally televised speech to the nation's schoolchildren, "Then, slowly, you get Secret Service. Then, when you win the nomination, you get more Secret Service. Then when you become president, everything just shuts down."

"I can't just do things normally like I used to do them," Obama said of the gilded cage he now lives in as president. "I'm inside what's called 'the bubble,'" Obama told the students, "I can't just do things on the spur of the moment and that's actually the toughest thing about being president because you want to just interact with people normally."

But living in the White House has its perks, Obama also told the students.

"I've got this really nice home office," he said, "called the Oval Office and it means that I don't have a commute."

Because of his 'home office,' Obama told the students, he actually has more time with his family than before moving to the White House.

"I'm spending a lot more time with my kids now, and my wife now and having dinner with them every night. That's a lot better now than it was before when I was traveling a lot and commuting back and forth between D.C. and Chicago."

Obama also told the students that he enjoys the added responsibility of being president.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. BJC

    Poor Poor Baby. It's hard to hang with your Communist friends all the time now. Well, at least you've brought a few into the White House so you don't feel so lonely. I'm sure you stay in contact with your blackberry. I hope America can survive until 2012.

    September 8, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  2. Penn Voter

    If you are still struggling at fitting into you new job? You can resign, Hillary is still available. She's ready.

    September 8, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  3. Simmy

    Forget being a hunk, Mr President is a wonderful human being.....He's got Republicans spinning like dogs chasing their tails.....And look at how CNN (John King) is forced to keep Palin's face around to stimulate the GOP.....The man is kicking butts if you know what I mean.....If you think they're crazy now, wait until we get a healthcare bill with public plan option passed......Ain't no stoppin' US now...

    September 8, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. Krappa

    Ah, sweet, seet Conservative tears...


    Love the President. He's a great man.

    September 8, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. Joe

    What a wonderful man.

    September 8, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  6. marcus tullius c

    What's new?

    September 8, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  7. Rob

    People see what they want to see.

    Greatest President ever? Could be – but lets wait a few years before we canonize him.

    Socialist? Why, because he cares about the downtrodden?

    The left loves him, the right hates him, both sides are so acrimoneous – is there anyone out there who can be fair and objective on either side? President Obama has some big challenges ahead of him – shouldn't we all try to support him where we can or, where we can't, oppose him with integrity?

    September 8, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  8. S Callahan

    Being the President is hard work, his job is to insure he always has the best interest of this country in mind; being always on guard as protector..anything less would dishonor to his fellow countryman.
    I am glad he spends time with his family....the dinner hour is so important....but not nearly as important as worship as a family.....any church in mind yet?

    September 8, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  9. Gerry

    If you don't care for Obama then you must be a racist. That a stupid way to think. I do not care for him putting this country in further debt than is necessary and I am not for putting 10Ss of millions of people on a government health care plan. I am for health care for everyone but do it right don't just do it.

    September 8, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  10. makesUwonder

    Enjoy that White House and those perks while you can Mr. President because come 2012 you'll be packing your bags and heading out making millions of Americans very happy.

    September 8, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  11. Nam

    For those folks who are so needy for the government spending for your health care and socialist agenda, we may just come to a civil war. Stop relying on the government and other people's paycheck. Stand on your feet and earn your own money. The socialist government is outrageous.

    September 8, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  12. Steve in PA

    He's kidding right? I don't think he's even spent an entire week straight in the White House. He's been wasting our money...oops, I mean, working for the people. They let him keep his Blackberry, what more does he want?

    I guess what he means that he can't do anything normally, is that he can't run Chicago style thug politics in Washington and expect them to work the same. People are not as stupid as he thinks they are.

    September 8, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  13. Jim

    Mr. Obama strikes me as very real, authentic, down-to-earth and honest about his emotions and priorities. I'm sure he'd like to play pick-up basketball with his friends, as he used to. His wife and daughters are blessed to spend quality time with him. I believe he will be one of the great Presidents of the 21st century, as Franklin Roosevelt was of the 20th century.

    September 8, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  14. Bob, in Ohio

    The levels of animosity seem beyond the rational to me. My question to some of those who compare Obama to Hugo or Fidel or Kim, or suggest that he's never had a job before, or that he is a terrible, immoral and failed President, etc.: Have you ever in your life had respect for a Black male who wasn't subordinate? Who, and under what circumstances? It seems to me that when there are currents of such irrational hate and fear involved that something else is going on, and when the pundits on Planet Fox and Rush push their fear buttons they're appealing to some primal anxiety about difference.

    September 8, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  15. Joyce

    Hey, be4ing president cannot be an easy job. He has a heck of a lot of responsibility on him, cantankerous citizens to deal with, and no personal freedom. Too bad he wasn't good at basketball, baseball or football; he could have made some real money and had some freedom.

    However, I am glad Barack Obama decided to run for President. He has shown himself to be a man of high principles and good character. I am proud to have him be my President!

    September 8, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  16. Tired

    Considering all the ridiculous criticisms directed his way since the Inaugeration I am glad he can keep his humor and his perspective. Since in the eyes of some of our fellow Americans he can't do or say anything right it is truly amazing. I'm sure if he said the sky was blue there would be negative press. Come on folks......get off the hate wagon.....we are Americans....we are allowed differences of opinion. Differences do not make one evil. Every one of us has had varying opinions about our White House occupants and that is OK. But this name calling has got to stop. Thing what we are teaching our children about respect for authority and about the freedoms allowed in our country.

    September 8, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  17. Peggy

    We are very fortunate to have Mr. Obama for our President. He has done more in his eight years in office than his predecessor did in the entire eight years he was there. People need to stop whining and get behind this president. Stop all the racist hate. Stop all the negativity. Stop all the fear mongering. If we really wanted that we would have elected McCain and that idiot Palin.

    September 8, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  18. Jim C

    Love how everything President Obama says drives the right wingers nuts. That means, he is doing a great job 🙂 Love it.

    September 8, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  19. Andi

    President Obama is doing a wonderful job, the nation has to understand that he has to clean up a lot of mess that this country has been experiencing for the past eight years. Folks really need to give him a break and support him he has a lot of great ideas. Also, it takes several people to run our nation so just don't let all the problems fall on President Obama's shoulders he has people advising him. This is history folks our first "Black President" I never thought I would see the day.

    September 8, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  20. Kenny

    Ok Folks. You guys really are amazing. I for one did not vote for Obama but I realize he is the President of the United States and I respect him for that.

    Alll of this negativity towards YOUR President should be reason for Treason. Living in the United States is a Privlege not a Right and it happens to still be the Proudest Place in the world to live.

    I just don't get it. Love him or hate him he is in face Our Leader of the Free world. Get over yourself. I hope he serves two full terms.


    September 8, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  21. Tom L

    It's scary how much people worship this man. He is just a man.

    September 8, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. LacrosseMom

    Some of the vile comments by the GOPers are just more proof of the haters they are! Shame on you!

    President Obama keep up the good work! The GOPers will be eating crow soon enough!

    September 8, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  23. Chandler

    He tells it like it is, and that is wonderful! I thought his speech today was so perfect. Kids DO need to know that what they do in school will affect the rest of their lives, and that no amount of great parenting or good teaching can make up for a student that doesn't apply themselves. I think Republicans are just jealous that Obama is a living example of "personal responsibility", when they just use that phrase for rhetoric.

    September 8, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  24. Drestylz

    He's a great American President! Get used to it Fox News Fans!

    I love to see all the Repubs chime in with their hate and anger. What happened to Family Values and respect for the office now that it's not your guy? Oh, I guess they went away about the same time your ethics and honesty went with them.

    Republicans are a dying breed. I'm sitting back and laughing as they fade...........away. 🙂

    September 8, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  25. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Hey, I have a home office too, and my morning commute is down two flights of stairs to my basement–even less distance than from the WH residence to the West Wing. And I don't even have to put up with politicians all day to have earned it.

    September 8, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
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