Reggie Love: Obama played cards on day Bin Laden was killed
August 14th, 2013
05:45 PM ET
7 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. Dave

    A little research on Obama's team would have found that the terms used on the certificate and the listed hospital never were in existance when he was born. Something still sounds very fishy about the whole thing. Wise men drop the whole thing knowing full well that the power to do anything starts at the top and flows down hill like water. Obama can do anything now legal or illegal,and blow off any questions, just as LBJ did so long ago and we all know how corrupt he was. In the end LBJ had do deal with his own demons and I am sure the Obama will as well.

    August 14, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  2. MrG

    I really do not understand the point or purpose of this article at all. I also do not understand why someone would bring this up as if there is something BIG about any of it at this time.

    August 14, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  3. Super J

    Okay, we get it. Obama was in office when our military killed OBL. Yippee. "Obama is great"!

    August 14, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  4. trev

    Stellar reporting! This is so important!

    August 14, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. Cris

    He played Call of Duty : Presidential Edition.

    August 14, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  6. Chris

    I remember it being stated the President received a phone call on the golf course that it was completed. Regardless of however he wasted time, he wasted time. There is plenty of work to do, and plenty of fixing required nationally. I find it hard to hear him take credit for ANY part of the OBL capture/kill. He just happened to be in office when it occurred.

    August 14, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  7. lesliee

    The birth certificate thing makes perfect sense to me. Having moved countless times, and having had to re-obtain my birth certificate after it was lost more than a few times, and having received at least three different forms of my birth certificate (from a handwritten statement to a computer-generated form), I can attest that finding the EXACT copy of the EXACT form that would satisfy various people isn't a done deal. Of course, the birthers won't be satisfied by this, but they wouldn't be satisfied if they had been present and assisting at Obama's birth in Hawaii themselves.

    August 14, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  8. jerrylax

    oh yes, then he took a bow. Fact is we have known where osama was for quite some time. BO needed a press release. Now, of course the obama doctrine has found the middle east in flames...a horrible mess. The reset with Russia, a failure. China Russia reset, is doing well....however. All while clinton was on watch...and now she wants to be madam president...ah no thanks.

    August 14, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  9. Jeff Kelly

    It is as fake as he is. Verify it. It has been altered and contains several discrepancies.

    August 14, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  10. Peter

    If a birther personally witnessed Obama's mother giving birth in the delivery room in a hospital in Hawaii, they would still say that Obama was not born in this country.

    August 14, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  11. Ruth

    So ....that is his story and he is sticking to it?

    August 14, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. Bobby in SC

    Puff piece! Try writing an article about what he did the night 4 Americans were killed in Benghazi! Now that would be fine journalism and an article that people might actually want to read.

    August 14, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  13. dina

    I thought people were not supposed to talk about the president after they don't work for him anymore.Shame on him.

    August 14, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  14. vivdrummer

    Um...okay? Not sure this is really news-worthy, but whatever.

    August 14, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  15. anonoymous

    Wonder if the birther nuts will be after Cruz if not makes you wonder why not since we know for sure Cruz was not born in the usa.

    August 14, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  16. rdb

    U.s.a. alway to be home for good men and women america do not forget veteran thank god Love rdb

    August 14, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  17. realville

    Now if we could just find out what this doofus was doing during the Benghazi raid.

    August 14, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  18. BO

    Probably a few rounds of golf.

    August 14, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  19. Iowa48

    While I am not at all shocked to find that Mr. Obama lacked the cojones to see the operation through, I am completely surprised that he was playing Spades. Everybody knows that Three-Card Monte is his game.

    August 14, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  20. card-shark

    I can only imagine what he was doing during the Benghazi raid.

    August 14, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  21. Amarjeet

    If the opponents and authorities refuse to recognize the birth certificate, there is no remedy. Facts are fact, fictions are fictions and now next Presidential candidates are trying to be certain of their own eligibility.

    August 14, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  22. bee lade

    Oh come on now. We all know what really happened. We have photos. Him Hillary and the others were all in a room for a photo op, looking at a blank TV set with pretend looks of concern and determination.

    It was all over the news, along with the fact the "Mission feed" blanked out a minute into transmission.

    August 14, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  23. Caveman

    Not surprising that he has a short attention span...

    August 14, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  24. us_1776

    And today in the Ted Cruz article there was nary a "birther" to be found anywhere.

    Amazing isn't it?

    .

    August 14, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  25. us_1776

    It's the old "hurry up and wait".

    Either the enlisteds are waiting on the brass to make up their minds.

    Or the brass is waiting on the enlisteds to carry out a mission.

    .

    August 14, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
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