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. Jones

    I find this story humorous. By the way the President Obama took so much credit for the killing of OBL, I thought for sure he was in Pakistan leading Seal Team Six in the raid.

    August 14, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  2. KC Yankee

    He be throwin' down wid he main man, and dey ain't nuttin' wrong wid dat!

    August 14, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  3. Clarke

    I often wonder if the Presidents mother had been alive, if any of these people would of ever bother to question his birth certificate. They didn't question it while his grandmother was alive. I find it interesting that is all.

    August 14, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  4. dzerres

    Very fishy story. 15 games or 15 hands? 15 games takes an awfully long time. And as I recall Obama was preparing his speech for the Correspondence Dinner and then gave that speech as well – all while the OBL preparations were going on. Then at zero hour he joined the situation room and later announced the results on world wide live television. If he had time to play 15 games of spades any time during that day then this man is truly a miracle worker.

    August 14, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  5. JH

    *crickets* I don't think anyone really cares how Obama spent that particular day...

    August 14, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    I would rather know what he was doing during Benghazi terrorist assault.

    August 14, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  7. nintex

    I just know the birther people will force Cruz to produce his long form birth certificate; after all, they are the guardians of what's correct and right and just in this country. We certainly wouldn't want anyone who wasn't born in this country to run for president – yes, birthers, Hawaii IS part of this country, but Canada isn't. (I know about the mother's citizenship – I'm just giving back what the birthers dished out to President Obama).

    August 14, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  8. Rob

    Now if only someone would tell us where he was when 4 Americans were being killed while pleading for help in Benghazi.
    As for the lengthy search for his birth certificate. Do you really want the public to believe that he had to wait for his mommy to find it and it may have gotten lost while traveling the world? Did he lack the necessary index finger to place a call and have it produced from the state of Hawaii?

    August 14, 2013 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  9. snotfair

    Thank God President Obama wasn't playing Spades w/ The Donald- he would've gotten Trumped!

    August 14, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  10. Dixon

    Did the birth certificate show up on the same table in the White House where Hillary Clinton found the Rose Law Firm billing records? If so, that place must be haunted.

    August 14, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  11. George

    He could have produced a sworn affidavit witnessed by the 12 apostles and that would have been insufficient for the birthers. There is no known cure for stupidity.

    August 14, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  12. Woman In California

    1. President Obama played cards and STILL got the job done. BL is history. Bush ran and hid and over 3,000 were killed; and
    2. The birth certificate issue was just a way for the "white trash" of this country (and you know who you are), to somehow try and make this president illegitimate.

    Both issues proved this country is in need of more education and less bigots.
    Job well done Mr. President.

    August 14, 2013 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  13. John

    Old news, intended to distract the ignorant public.

    August 14, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  14. Marilyn

    Unfortunately the Birthers aren't persuaded by any legitimate document that proves the President's citizenship.

    August 14, 2013 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  15. Fubarack

    OK, now release what he was doing during the Benghazi raid.

    August 14, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  16. james

    Regarding the "birthers", as you've seen, nothing will ever satisfy the racists. But he won handily without them. Next up we'll have the misogynists to ignore.

    August 14, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  17. Johnny DC

    Absolutely hysterical.

    An article focusing on what this sad excuse for a president was personally doing during a raid, while questions remain unanswered about what he was doing for 10 hours while his ambassador and 3 other Americans were being murdered during a prolonged terrorist event?

    Shame on the media. Shame on CNN.

    Shame on everyone who reads this with genuine affection for a guy who, by all accounts, seemingly and simply went to sleep knowing Americans were at peril and wanted to rest up for his big upcoming events in Las Vegas.

    August 14, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  18. smellferd

    Great fluff. Now tell us where he was during benghazi.

    August 14, 2013 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  19. Vicki

    That is a great way to distress from what was a very important mission to get Bin Laden. So I am glad they were able to play some cards.

    August 14, 2013 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    the birth certificate is fake, every legal record obum has is fake there is not one legal document obama has that is real. His entire like a composite of frauds con games and lies

    August 14, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  21. Linda

    So glad he got Bin Laden under his watch and had the guts to go for it! Great man, great President. Too bad the previous president could only start 2 wars and create massive amounts of debt and anger.

    August 14, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    Why is this news? All that matters is President Obama had the stones to go after bin Laden – and because of his leadership and decision, the mastermind behind 9/11 is swimming with the fishes.

    August 14, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  23. Just

    He gave himself campaign speeches while looking at the bathroom mirror.

    August 14, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  24. Susan

    So not only did obama not get him, he didn't even have the stuff to watch those who did, get him.

    August 14, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  25. Rick

    I can also say how he spent that day.....he slept....

    August 14, 2013 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
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