Reggie Love: Obama played cards on day Bin Laden was killed
August 14th, 2013
05:45 PM ET
9 years ago

Reggie Love: Obama played cards on day Bin Laden was killed

(CNN) - A famous photo shows President Barack Obama hunkered down in the Situation Room in May 2011 with his national security team as U.S. Navy SEALS carried out the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

But his former body man Reggie Love said in an interview posted online Wednesday that Obama also played cards to distract himself during the day-long ordeal.

In the wide-ranging interview, which has since been removed from YouTube, Love further revealed the president's reaction upon finding his birth certificate after critics raised an uproar over his eligibility for the White House.

In the July 18 interview, which took place during a lunch hosted by UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs, Love talked about life with the president, including the historic moment more than two years ago when bin Laden was killed.

Describing it as a "very long day," Love said most people were in the Situation Room but Obama came to the private dining room to play cards with Love, White House photographer Pete Souza and staffer Marvin Nicholson.

"[President Obama] was like, 'I'm not, I'm not going to be down there, I can't watch this entire thing'," Love said. "We must have played 15 hands-15 games of Spades."

Love, who left the White House at the end of 2011 to complete his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, also recalled the moment when the president "finally" found his birth certificate.

The moderator jumped in: "It took a little too long, by the way."

Explaining the delay, Love said when "your parents don't live together (and) you travel all over the world, documents get lost."

"He wanted to just have an impromptu press conference, just walk in to the press briefing room in the White House and put it down on the podium. And everyone was like 'That's a really bad idea'," Love said, drawing laughs from the audience.

"But he was very gung-ho about doing it, because he was so irritated about it," he said.

Of course, in April 2011, the president did in fact announce the news in the press briefing room, shortly after his office released the long-form birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii.

"Normally I would not comment on something like this," Obama said. But the country has pressing fiscal and other priorities, he added, and the so-called birther story had been a distraction.

Obama released a shorter, legally binding "certification of live birth" in 2008, but that failed to persuade members of the "birther" movement.

- CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. Jeremy Pink

    Did he happen to play with a deck of those terrorist cards?

    August 14, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. The Pontificator

    Once again, reality is covered up and a fake story is given to make something mediocre look better than it was.

    August 14, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. Borderless

    So what? I'm betting he also had a bite, went to the restroom, drank some coffee... The man was not personally involved in the raid and he did his job. Beyond that, who cares?

    August 14, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  4. davecu

    And his schools records?

    August 14, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. JJ236

    And playstation...and some tetris....and some craigslist surfing too.

    August 14, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  6. America Suckered Again

    Wait a minute now! I watched the 2012 election closely and I'm pretty sure Obama rode into Pakistan on the lead helicopter and may have actually fired the first shot himself. Did I hear that wrong?

    August 14, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  7. luigim

    Thankfully, he was not reading "My Pet Goat" There is no comparison to our current president to "W".

    August 14, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  8. White House Monitor 2483

    "I'm not going to be down there, I can't watch this entire thing. But I'll take all the credit afterwards."

    August 14, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  9. Loggan44

    Not news. This is absolutely not a news worthy story. All you are doing is inflaming the stupid conservatives. The smart ones won't buy it but there are so many stupid ones out there.

    August 14, 2013 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  10. Geoz

    The birthers... you are hilarious. Five years earlier, the same crowd was clamoring to change the constitution so that Arnold could run. But a real record of birth made no difference for them regarding Obama. Hi-lar-i-ous.

    August 14, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. liberal disease

    cards, golf, leno what ever and you wonder why rodeos are portraying him as a clown

    August 14, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  12. outawork

    Isn't this the kinda stories you usual see on FOX?

    August 14, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  13. Charlie Harvell

    "15 games of Spades". You gotta be kidding.

    August 14, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  14. Rod C. Venger

    I'm confused. Obama chose to play cards instead of participate in the killing of Osama Bin Laden? He claimed "I can't watch this entire thing"? Well why not? Maybe after he's out of office and it's no longer politically rewarding, he wants to be able to say that he wasn't actually involved in it? Maybe felt like his hands would be dirtied if he sat in the situation room with all of the generals and such, while America's #1 enemy was being stalked and killed?

    August 14, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  15. Redspotz

    Tell what you did during the Benghazi raid.

    August 14, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  16. alfonds

    If you were playing cards while the Navy Seals's Raid was going on, you can not get credit for this incident.

    August 14, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  17. Redspotz

    Tell us what you did during the Benghazi raid; Hillary too!

    August 14, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  18. Kendall

    Where was he on the night of the Banghazi attack?....still has not accounted for 8 1/2 hours...HHMMMM

    August 14, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  19. TIm

    The funny thing is that he still hasn't provided the birth certificate though.

    August 14, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  20. a disgrace

    anything but doing even one minutes work!

    August 14, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  21. Kevin Kavanaugh

    I thought I might have seen some news related to Phony Scandal #3 (IRS buggering of conservative groups) here on CNN. Wow. Not that this story isn't relevant and important. Spades?! Hmmm.

    August 14, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  22. Dave in Arizona

    Ah, memories of some of the first obstructions and distractions of the Republican's Crusade. Now they have more fronts in their war than I can keep track of...

    August 14, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  23. Guero

    wonder what he did on September 11th, 2012? Never has been answered.

    August 14, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  24. onlyfacts

    Hypocrites, remember Dubya after being told the World Trade Centers were just attacked? He sat there with a blank look on his face, then continued reading....I mean describing pictures to the children for a very long time. He didn't want to startle the children. Which wasn't the case when he sent their mommy's and daddy's off to a war for no reason. I believe you are hating the wrong president.

    August 14, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  25. glk20c

    Well, the important thing is that King Obama was playing something somewhere. Otherwise he could have been doing his job, which always turns out bad for us.

    August 14, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
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