Between President Obama's struggle and sort-of triumph to keep his BlackBerry and the West Wing's faltering email system — yesterday Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said it was down — it's a hardly a surprise to learn the White House is mired in cords and cables and 6-year-old computers.
Staff has traded in campaign MacBooks for desktops fitted with outdated Windows software, and the few laptops available are being rationed to very select staff. No Facebook. No IM. No Twitter. Not even wireless!
For a staff that relied on technology and social networking to win an election, White House employees will have to begrudgingly adjust to the loss of mobility. While it's done partly out of tradition, restrictions also ensure information is protected under the Presidential Records Act. Obama spokesman Bill Burton admitted, "It is kind of like going from an Xbox to an Atari." And that's the official line!
If America is going to lead the world, should its government have access to leading technology?