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Obama bored with his BlackBerry

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) July 29, 2010
Barack Obama fought hard to keep his BlackBerry when he became president, but with only 10 people authorized to email the super-encrypted device, he admitted Thursday that it is "no fun."

Obama also demonstrated a passing knowledge of popular culture, in the first-ever appearance by a sitting president on a daytime television talk show, as he increases campaign-style events ahead of November's congressional polls.

The president said that only 10 people have the address of the BlackBerry he was issued, and the conversation is a bit stilted because messages will likely be archived along with all other White House documents.

"I've got to admit, it's no fun because they think that it's probably going to be subject to the presidential records act, so nobody wants to send me the real juicy stuff," Obama said on ABC's "The View."

"It's all very official. 'Mr. President, you have a meeting coming up and we'd like to brief you.'"

Obama however was happy to reveal the contents of his iPod, which tears down musical barriers, including Jay-Z, Frank Sinatra and opera legend Maria Callas.

The president said he had no tracks by teen heartthrob Justin Bieber, but did once meet the singer when he performed at the White House.

"He's a very nice young man."

Obama however admitted he had never heard of "Snooki," a star of the popular MTV reality show "Jersey Shore."

Some commentators have questioned whether the dignity of the presidency is called into question with such informal performances.

But from Bill Clinton on, US presidents and candidates have sought out such appearances on light-hearted shows, where they can expect softball questions and reach audiences normally beyond the political circuit.

Politicians are also conscious that voters often want to make a personal connection with their leaders.

This may be especially applicable to Obama, as many polls have shown that the president is more popular than some of his domestic policies -- a fact that may help him during his expected 2012 reelection effort.

"The View" is a roundtable show presented by veteran journalist Barbara Walters, actress and comedienne Whoopi Goldberg and several other hosts. It has a large following among women, who form a crucial voting block.

Obama, who joked that he chose the show because his wife Michelle watched it, was happy to talk about his family and his daughters, before offering his take on more meaty issues, including the Afghan war and unemployment.

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