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Obama fights the security bubble

- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 8, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama said Wednesday he's already butting up against the restrictions on his personal life as president, including everyday things like using a Blackberry or going body surfing on his Hawaii vacation.

He told CNBC he still has his Blackberry for now, but the Secret Service and lawyers have warned him to give it up.

"I'm still in a scuffle around that - how do you stay in touch with the flow of everyday life?" he told CNBC.

The protective cordon around the president is known as the security bubble, and outsiders who come in contact with the president must be screened by the Secret Service.

President Bush all but gave up e-mail during his time in office, and said in an interview with Yahoo and Politico last year that he's looking forward to getting back to being able to e-mail friends to stay in touch.

Mr. Obama said he learned not to walk outside without his shirt on. Photographers managed to capture him shirtless on the beach in Hawaii, and the images of an in-shape president-elect were a sensation. In its broadcast of the interview on Thursday, the "Today Show" helpfully flashed a picture on screen.

"It was silly, but silliness goes with this job," Mr. Obama told the network.

Mr. Obama met with Mr. Bush and the three former presidents who are still alive on Wednesday and said he got good advice from President Carter and President Clinton about raising young children at the White House.

"We just want to make sure we are creating normalcy as much as possible," he said.

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