Our first Prez to use… email?

Are you serious? According to this AP story, President Obama is the “the first sitting president to use e-mail.” Is anyone else here scratching their head? I mean, the article goes on to say that Bush “was an active e-mailer before becoming president” (?? Then he stopped??) and then points out that “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.” Um – HELLO? Shouldn’t they be? This is positioned as though it would be a bad thing for the President’s emails to be saved a la Sarbanes-Oxley.

I mean, I can understand that SOME things might be very high-security and therefore best left to conversations behind closed doors or whatever politicians do, but I guess I’m just shocked to learn that our presidents never used email to conduct their “business.” That’s like saying the White House didn’t use electricity or something, and the former Presidential families basked in the glow of oil lamps every night. Right?!

Besides, it makes me feel better to know that the Pres is being held accountable – you know, the whole transparency thing. So the AP goes on to say that Obama’s e-mails will be subject to the Presidential Records Act, which requires the National Archives to preserve presidential records. OK, excellent.

And the most important, related news of the day (seriously, EVERYONE has been talking about it. Even on Twitter): Obama fought and won to keep his Blackberry! The White House will allow him to check his Presidential email account (which let me remind you no other Prez ever had) on his personal Blackberry. Hooray!

The best was the AP photo of Obama dropping his Blackberry:  

President-elect Barack Obama drops his BlackBerry as he steps out of his limousine before boarding a plane at Washingtons Reagan National Airport, Friday, Jan. 16, 2009, prior to heading to Bedford, Ohio, where he will meet with workers at Cardinal Fasteners. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President-elect Barack Obama drops his BlackBerry as he steps out of his limousine (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

So, welcome to the revolution in communications that is email, White House! And be sure to watch for future sightings of President Obama on his Blackberry!

In all seriousness, I think it is really cool that Obama has a Blackberry and will be connected to the World Wide Web via email. I just think a) it’s amazing he’s the first one to do so and b) it’s ridiculous how the media has reacted to the Blackberry “story” as a “win” for Obama. My pessimistic side thinks this is the “Obama sells” phenomenon. What do you think?

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4 Responses

  1. pretty amazing indeed. and such a bummer, because i would have paid good money to have some of president what’s-his-name’s e-mails leaked. typos and grammar errors abound, i’m sure.

  2. oh, plus, can you imagine the security infrastructure behind this — the one that probably didn’t exist before and is now needed? this made some IT shop’s day. nay — life. and you can bet people are already arbitrarily guessing his e-mail address. what would it be, anyway? barack.obama@america.gov? gobama@usa.net? can you imagine the firewall and spam filters around this thing? his address has got to be a bunch of randomly generated codes that change on set intervals or something. the security implications behind things like this always give me clammy palms and then i go reaching for my box-sets of 24. i feel for his CTO.

    and yeah, per your comment, its nonexistence has no doubt served presidents well in the past. probably better to go around declaring war by, say, spoken word rather than an e-mail flagged important. ‘whoops, can i recall that one…? wait, aw, dang it, i see here it’s already in my sent folder…!?’

  3. Except that I’m pretty sure that Clinton dabbled in e-mail. Seriously, like I think he sent one or two of them.

    Agree with Dave that my first thought was his poor IT guy – only the world’s national security lays in his skills to keep that inbox secure. Yikes. I hope they drafted the guy from DEFCON or something because this would be the ultimate hackers challenge.

  4. I’m stunned about the email although I guess I can certainly see the the reason why previous presidents have avoided it.

    I wonder what model of Blackberry Obama is using? I can only imagine the boost in sales!

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