"Will President Obama have a personal computer?
... Probably not, if recent history is a guide—neither Bill Clinton nor George W. Bush had a dedicated office computer. On Thursday afternoon, the White House did confirm that Obama will keep a BlackBerry to communicate with a small group of friends and senior staff. Before Obama, presidents had gone without e-mail, both to keep their messages secure from hackers as well as to sidestep the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which requires that all correspondence be archived and eventually made available to the public. (Plus, it helps keep them focused on the job at hand; all documents that arrive at the office, from bills to birthday cards, get filtered by the staff secretary.) Ultimately, it's the president's decision whether he wants a computer, one he makes under advisement from the White House counsel and, most likely, the White House Communication Agency, the Department of Defense office that handles his classified correspondence.
Even if he doesn't have a desktop computer, Obama will still be able to go online now and again while he's on the job. The president has a fleet of computer-equipped staffers sitting directly outside his office doors. President Bush sometimes used the computers of these personal aides to check news reports or sports scores. (He also had a personal computer at his Crawford ranch, which he used for limited personal surfing.)
... During Bush's tenure, the White House's IT department blocked sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and most of MySpace. The ability to comment on blogs was blocked, as was certain content that was deemed offensive. According to David Almacy, who served as Bush's director for Internet and e-communications from 2005-07, only two people had access to the iTunes store during that period: Almacy, who had to upload speeches to the site, and the president's personal aide, so that he could download songs for Bush's iPod."*
Neutral Official: "Your neutralness, it's a beige alert."
Neutral Leader: "If I don't survive, tell my wife: Hello."
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