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. ImVoting4Hillary

    Great job Mr. President! You did something Bush couldn't do in 8 years. You are a great President.

    August 14, 2013 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  2. DaveinIL

    So maybe that's what he did while Benghazi burned.

    August 14, 2013 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  3. Concerned citizen

    Don't worry Mr. President! Even if some of them were present at your birth, they wouldn't believe it!

    August 14, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  4. shehar39

    what we really want to know, is where was he on the night of benghazi

    August 14, 2013 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  5. rdb

    Love u.s. america born to god to here

    August 15, 2013 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  6. i12bphil

    Wait, I thought he led Seal Team 6, the way most people give him credit for the accomplishment! No doubt it was more along the lines of "Sir, after many, many years of searching, we got a hot tip. Can we go get him?"...."Yeah, sure!".

    August 15, 2013 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  7. darrtown

    Birthers and right wingers will have a field day with this article

    August 15, 2013 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  8. Max Smith

    He played cards? Not surprising. You'd think based on how he talks that he was in Pakistan the moment they caught bin Laden.

    August 15, 2013 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  9. shawn poland

    more lies from the hitler and the hitlers mouth piece. osama been dead since late 2001 from marfan syndrome. why keep lying to people??? how about some 9/11 truth? gee why doesnt the political tickers pages get an upgrade to disqus??? is it easier to censor and block people with this crappy system? when the sheep learn to stop accepting lies, things will improve , but its been a downward spiral since the lies of 9/11, cause people refuse to use their voices and close the wallets. some cant believe whats real, some cant tell whats real, and some cant admit they were wrong!

    August 15, 2013 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  10. Alvin

    He "found" his birth certificate??? He "found" his birthday certificate? Curious, how does a Birth Certificate get "found" at a White House he's only lived in 5 years. CNN is so devoted to making a hero out of a "phony" President, and so darn committed to proving there "IS NO GOD", they seem to have left their brains where "Obama Found" his Birth Certificate.
    What a JOKE! CNN = Failed Journalism!

    August 15, 2013 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  11. Boris

    BO be smoking fat blunts and playin spades

    August 15, 2013 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  12. Linda m

    I think it is ironic that Obama lets us know what he was doing during the events leading up to getting bin laden but not what he was doing while Americans were being killed in Benghazi .

    August 15, 2013 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  13. norma jean

    Lets get over this "Birther' is SOOOOOOOOOO "TRUMP" amd so rediculous!!!!!!

    August 15, 2013 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  14. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    OK, so he played cards... He is human.

    August 15, 2013 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  15. cgs

    CNN, how about an article on how Obama kept busy during the Benghazi raid while 4 Americans were being murdered?

    August 15, 2013 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  16. Monomachos

    Any word yet as to what he was doing the evening of the Benghazi attack?

    August 15, 2013 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  17. Marie MD

    Those in the room say the President was there the whole time. What's up with Love? Shouldn't he keep his mouth shut. This is like secret service agents airing the dirty laundry in the WH!

    August 15, 2013 06:16 am at 6:16 am |

    He took a trip to the bathroom too? The Guns Over People Shutdown Government tea potty are more desperate than ever.

    August 15, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  19. Tony in Maine

    Had his day seemed extraordinary for ANY reason, it may have alerted the bad guys (the conservative media) that something was afoot. They'd have immediately twisted it anbd blown it all over the internet and television in the hopes of creating failure.

    August 15, 2013 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  20. A True Conservative

    Yup – he had more important things to do than watch a critical military operation where American Servicemen put their lives on the line. Are the folks on the left too stupid see what this man really is, or do they simply not care? If he and they are the future of this nation, we are in deep trouble.

    August 15, 2013 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  21. Maobama

    Of course he did, what else would the President of the United States do during the raid that killed the most wanted man in American history besides play cards away from the situation room? What a terrible "leader" we have. With a country this large how is it we always end up with garbage to choose from for our Presidents?

    August 15, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  22. Alex in Wisconsin

    In other news, brothers are apparently ready to vote for Sen. Cruz for president. That's all the confirmation one needs to know that its a racist movement.

    August 15, 2013 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  23. Eilspaul

    What's the big deal? It's not like he was reading "My Pet Goat" during the raid.

    August 15, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  24. Dixe

    He was playing spaides instead of being available for military actions that were going on? That was more important?

    August 15, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  25. Just a thought

    Ouch....GOP/Tea Trolls are gonna like this....blah, blah, blah, Obama is incompotent, Obama is the worst president ever, Obama can't lead.....Obama is a muslim, socialist, trader to this country. Can I make one simple pronouncement...especially for "just sayin" and Ricky Micky" You and those like you are imbecciles.

    August 15, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
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