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Obama’s BlackBerry bent poses presidential quandary

Sat., Jan. 17, 2009

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama desperately wants to keep his ever-present BlackBerry and become the first sitting president to use e-mail.

Just days before his swearing in as the nation’s 44th president, however, no final decision has been made on whether he will continue using his cherished electronic hand-held device.

Previous presidents chose not to use e-mail because it can be subpoenaed by Congress and courts and may be subject to public records laws.

“The president-elect would like to keep his Blackberry to maintain contacts with his friends outside the bubble of the White House, but no decision has been made yet,” said transition spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

It’s unclear if Obama’s BlackBerry messages would be public under the Presidential Records Act, which requires the National Archives to preserve presidential records, if he were to only use the device for personal communications.

Obama is often seen avidly checking his e-mail on his handheld device. Over the summer, he was seen checking his BlackBerry while watching his daughter’s soccer game, only to have Michelle Obama slap at his hands, prompting him to return the device to its holster.



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