Today is Presidents’ Day in the United States, and the markets are closed.
The holiday celebrates the birth of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, but it’s also a good day to reflect back on all 45 U.S. presidents and their contributions — and to remember that presidents are not royalty, but just normal people like every other U.S. citizen.
That means they have a lot of the same high-tech addictions and struggles as the rest of us.
Barack Obama was addicted to his BlackBerry, and brought it with him into office. Unfortunately, for security reasons he's limited to exchanging emails with about 10 people -- who are extra careful not to say anything juicy, as they know it could later be revealed under the Presidential Secrets Act.
Obama also has an iPod, which contains Jay-Z, Frank Sinatra, and Maria Callas...but no Justin Bieber
The President may have his loved BlackBerry, but First Lady Michelle Obama recently told the Today Show that their daughters Malia (12) and Sasha (9) have not been allowed to create Facebook accounts. The ban will stay in effect until the Obamas leave the White House, which could mean that Malia spends her entire teenage years off Facebook.
But in a visit to Facebook headquarters last November, George W. Bush explained that he used to be a Blackberry person but is now an iPad person. His wife Laura told Yahoo News that he was addicted to the iPad, and uses it to read the Wall Street Journal and play Scrabble.
Last week, Clinton told an audience at the Wired for Change conference: 'I sent a grand total of two emails as president. One to our troops in the Adriatic, and one to John Glenn when he was 77 years old in outer space. I figured it was OK if Congress subpoenaed those.'
In 2007, B. Ioffe was standing in line when President Clinton walked by with his secret service escort. He got Clinton to sign his iPhone, and during their conversation Clinton said that Steve Jobs had sent him one as well. Apparently Jobs is still handing out Apple devices to world leaders, but the one he gave Russian president Dimitry Medvedev was locked to AT&T and doesn't work in Russia.
On stage last March, Clinton said he tries to 'stay off the Blackberries' because he doesn't want to turn into George Bush senior: 'He's constantly doing email, he might as well be a teenager in high school.' (Clinton's comments start around 8:00 in this video.)
Nixon's secretary, Rose Mary Woods, explained that she made a 'terrible mistake' and hit the wrong button, accidentally erasing 18 and a half minutes of a recording. Speculation about what was in the gap later became a key part of the Watergate hearings.
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