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Obama tries to stay connected

Will the White House entertain a BlackBerry?

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Barack Obama is hoping to find a way around the rules that ban communications equipment in the White House so he can keep his beloved BlackBerry when he takes office.

In an interview with Barbara Walters on ABC the president elect explained that he is "in the process of negotiating with the secret service, with lawyers [and] with white-house staff" to get information from "outside the 10 or 12 people who surround my office."

Whether that means a blackberry or laptop will depend on those negotiations.

The President isn't usually allowed a mobile phone, as such devices can be tracked and that's considered a security risk.

There is also the question of accountability - detailed records of all presidential communications are essential if we're going to enjoy the voice of future presidents explaining to a tailor that their balls don't fit in their trousers - as this marvellous clip of Lyndon Johnson demonstrates.

Obama says he wants to "keep [his] finger on the pulse of the struggles that people are going through every day", though we're not convinced that the internet is the right place to look for the struggles of ordinary people. But it's nice to know that the president has something in common with the convicts in American prisons, who are equally restricted in their communications. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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