Obama: 'They're going to have to pry my BlackBerry away'
Friday 09 January 2009
Barack Obama is determined to hang on to his BlackBerry, the personal lifeline that keeps him connected to the outside world, even as the cocoon of the presidency tightens around him.
"I'm still clinging to my BlackBerry," he said yesterday. "They're going to pry it out of my hands." Hooked to his belt, it was his constant companion on the campaign trail, keeping him close to family, friends and his staff. As a result, he was the best informed and most responsive candidate in the election.
Much of Mr Obama's electoral success is credited to his detailed knowledge of the political battleground. With his organiser at hand, he was always up to date with the latest news, polls, fundraising figures and political gossip.
But Mr Obama is discovering that lawyers rather than presidents make the rules in Washington. Harry Truman referred to the White House as the "great white jail" and George Bush disappeared into cyber silence as soon as he crossed its threshold. Mr Obama has been advised that his BlackBerry is vulnerable to being hacked into and for his own legal protection, he should not use email during his presidency.
But keeping in touch by email is Mr Obama's way of escaping the trappings of power and remaining in contact with ordinary people. "I've got to look for every opportunity to do that – ways that aren't scripted, ways that aren't controlled, ways where, you know, people aren't just complimenting you or standing up when you enter into a room, ways of staying grounded," he said. "I don't know that I'll win. I'm still fighting it."
The President-elect now finds himself cosseted behind security barriers and driven around in an armoured limousine accompanied by a small army of Secret Service agents.
Mr Obama vented his frustration at being stuck inside the bubble and disclosed he was even discouraged from going body surfing in Hawaii. He said his wife, Michelle, found the fuss over photographs of him walking shirtless on the beach amusing. "It was silly, but, you know, silliness goes with this job."
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 Prince Harry leaving the armed forced to pursue conservation projects in Africa
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
Leonard Nimoy dead: Star Trek Spock actor dies after suffering lung disease
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin, says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...