While everyone loves photos of the Obamas, and let's be honest, "WE ALL DO", the bubble called Secret Service is closing in at rapid speed.
“It’s just hard to know that there’s somebody with you all the time,” said Steve Elmendorf, who was deputy campaign manager for John Kerry in 2004. “Being able to get up and go biking or go for a walk, or hold hands with your wife — everything you do is not just under the scrutiny of the press or the pool.”
For Obama, who received a Secret Service detail earlier than any presidential candidate since the practice began, the scrutiny is much more intense.
The glare on his family is shaping up to be unprecedented, both because Obama assumes the presidency amid a 24-hour, Web-dominated media age where many traditional boundaries don’t exist and because of what he represents. He’s the first African-American to be elected president. At 47, he’s a young guy – as presidents go. He also has a youthful, attractive family that is social and active.
I was talking to a friend the past few days and she said, "Now the Obamas are finally realizing that the bubble is real and all the things they love to do, will be photographed from here on out and many things they will just have to stop doing." I pooh-poohed it, but sitting here she is right. After the paparazzo photo of Obama shirtless and the girls running around in bathing suits, along with Michelle Obama, pictures of that magnitude is over. It has to be, the family must have privacy and after having that one photographer, who sold the pictures to the paparazzi after taking pictures less than 200 feet, it will stop.
“There's still some things we're not adjusted to," Obama said in a “60 Minutes” interview after the election. “You know, the small routines of life that keep you connected, I think some of those are being lost.”
Does this mean that Barack Obama will become like President Bush? Totally out of touch, in denial, won't burst the bubble to reality not even once? It does not have to be. We don't want Barack to become like George W. Bush and his total lack of understanding what happened after Katrina, remember his aides had to burn a cd/dvd of the news coverage and give it to him so he could understand what actually happened. Remember Bush does not watch the news or television.
Please, we don't want that again.
I don't think Barack Obama will become GWBII in that regard, but he will lose much freedom, that is part of becoming President of the United States. It will be up to him if he will fall into the bubble or have it half closed. We will see.
The day before Thanksgiving, a sixth grader at a Chicago school asked Obama about his new life.
“You don't have a lot of privacy," Obama told some 200 children, adding that going to Walgreen's and riding a bicycle are now far more involved than before.
Those close to the Obamas have spoken to the media less and less since the election. Calls and e-mails to close friends and associates of the Obama’s were not returned.
“My husband and I have been asked not to speak with the press about the Obamas,” one of them wrote in an e-mail. “They would prefer that we stay out of the papers for now.”
It seems the narrower the gap between transition and reality gets, the more private Obama has tried to become.
“You can see how he chafes at it,” Elmendorf said. “It’s hard for people who like to do outdoors things. It’s also hard for people with young kids. … You decide at 9 in the morning, I’m not going out anymore, then at 2 p.m. you decide, ‘Hey let’s get some ice cream.’”
“Normal people can do that. The president or president-elect can’t do that,” he said.
It is getting that tough folks, the bubble that is.