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It's "Bye Bye, Blackberry" for the U.S. President

November 16, 2008 - Joselyn King
I always knew U.S. presidents weren't allowed to drive, and that Secret Service agents always accompanied them on those horse back rides (Reagan), or bicycle jaunts (G.W. Bush).

But I never would have though they were prohibited from using e-mail or cellular phones. Apparently, no president has even had a computer on his Oval Office desk.

Their assistants take care of all that technology stuff. The idea is that someone could hack into the president's computer or phone to learn top secret information.

But it's also believed that the president should live in an isolated world -- free from all that extraneous information that isn't coming from his advisers. (Ah. . .hh h h hh h!!!!!!!!!!!!) This just might cause confusion for the president.

It's such a horrible thought that the president is intentionally kept isolated, and away from the outstide world and influences that technology brings.

President-elect Obama is already expressing concern about this, and doesn't appear to want to give up his Blackberry too easily, according to recent reports.

Perhaps the greatest asset Obama brings to the White House is that he isn't a product of the Washington bubble. As we've come to know in recent months, Obama has seen the plight of single mothers, the effects of cancer, problems with health care benefits and what goes on in the homes of those without a job.

He's also well acquainted with technology. He's known for frequently using his Blackberry to keep abreast of information -- or to just receive a text from his friend with an update from the White Sox game. Presidents apparently aren't supposed to have friends . . .or freedom to information and the public.

Reports say that during the the campaign, "Obama’s memorandums and briefing books were seldom printed out and delivered to his house or hotel room. . .they were simply sent to his BlackBerry for his review. If a document was too long, he would read and respond from his laptop computer, often putting his editing changes in red type."

It is also noted that Obama's messages to advisers and friends "are generally crisp, properly spelled and free of symbols or emoticons."

Imagine that. A literate president.

While most elected officials get copies of pertinent news clippings, Obama has typically already read the news on line before he gets them. "A network of friends — some from college, others from Chicago and various chapters in his life — promised to keep him plugged in," according to one article.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt pioneered the idea of using technology to convey information to the masses through his "fireside chats." Obama took this premise one step further over the weekend, and added a video component to a radio address that was placed on You Tube.

It's also believed he will get a lap top on his presidential desk, but that it's also likely he still won't have e-mail capabilities.

Some new rules are needed for a new president in a new age.


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