Why Obama Banned Cell Phones at His Private Fundraisers


Do you have a belief only shared with your most trusted friends? Have you ever taken a step across the line of conventional wisdom on today's issues? If you have, then perhaps you understand why those in the running for political office, or holding political office, have started requesting that guests attending fundraisers check their cell phones at the door.

David Nakamura, of the Washington Post, recently wrote an article noting President Obama had his guests check their cell phones at the door during his recent fundraiser hosted by Blackstone CEO Hamilton James.

As a political junkie, I didn’t find the story newsworthy. In today’s 24-hour news world, with headline stories often fueled by audio and video taken out of context, the growing practice of checking cell phones at the door for private fundraisers has become an increasingly sound campaign strategy.

When presidential candidates throw fundraisers that solicit $10,000, $20,000, or $35,000 per plate donations, there is a reason for cell phones to be taken away; during these events questions raised and answers given can be taken out of context by the media, and could lead to a sway in public opinion. 

No matter your political prospective, I truly doubt anyone in this nation wishes to see Social Security dismantled, our National Security endangered, or the economic future of our children put further in jeopardy. Yet, in current political ads, candidates remarks and actions are taken out of context, and remarks by both the President and Governor Romney seemingly play to the bias of either candidate's base. 

There is a growing belief that Americans have the right to know everything about the past and present views of our politicians. My question to you is, “Why?”

I really don’t care if candidate Romney put his dog on the roof of the family station wagon anymore than I care if President Obama ate dog while living overseas. Perhaps I am naïve to the concerns of those who are outraged by either action, but I know far too many Americans who have done either or both activities to find this type of historical trivia worthy of my attention.

All too often I see “headlines” lambasting candidates with little regard for how these peoples' past actions made them who they are today. I find candidate Romney's private reflects on his two years as a missionary just as telling as I find President Obama's notes on the life lessons he learned while working as a community activist.

Furthermore, rarely do I ever see news coverage of the concerns that both the President and the presidential candidates share. The news has reached the point where even good news or shared opinion is spun in an attempt to fuel the never-ending negative political discourse. 

None of the above is intended to convey that I believe in censorship of the press or the public. I do however, continue to grow alarmed by the length and breadth of the public vetting of today’s candidates. Does the public have a right to know what candidates are discussing during their private fund raising efforts? Yes.

Yet I believe that candidates also have the right to a certian level of privacy, and that might mean having their fundraising participants check their cell phones at the door.

The pen is still mightier than the sword, or YouTube.