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Your President Doesn’t Do Tech

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Since the president relies on aids to do everything but wipe his butt, (one assumes, no pun intended), it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that he doesn’t have much hands-on experience with tech gadgets:

    No pager or PDA hangs off his belt and there’s no cell phone in his suit pocket.

    President Bush, like many world leaders and business titans, relies on aides to carry the high-tech gizmos that are a staple of modern life. That’s just fine by Bush, described as intrigued by what technology can do but not necessarily with the gadgets themselves.

    Through his staff, he has access to the most advanced technologies. The president, for example, doesn’t experiment with digital cameras, but a professional White House photographer is always nearby. He doesn’t need to deal with online banking or shopping because his personal aide handles that for him.

    He doesn’t cart around today’s keep-in-touch tools because someone is always nearby with communication equipment, and secure telephone lines are set up everywhere he goes by a White House office created just for that purpose.

    “He’s not one of these who has to have the latest and greatest model,” said communications director Dan Bartlett, a close presidential confidant and a 10-year Bush employee. He placed Bush “about mainstream” on the spectrum of people who can barely operate their VCR to those always eager for technology’s latest rage.

    For Bush, who came to the White House with an MBA degree and a desire to run government like a business, technology has more a functional than recreational appeal.

    ….”He’s no Al Gore,” said one Bush aide, comparing his boss to the former vice president known for his love of high-tech gadgetry, “but he’s very serious about having all this stuff work.”

    So Bush’s staff has worked overtime to upgrade White House technology. In part, the effort is in recognition of the president’s well-known irritation with inefficiencies such as phone lines dropping in mid-conversation or unreachable staffers.

    The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when the president crisscrossed the country on Air Force One amid a maze of confusing developments, spurred on the effort to modernize White House communications, deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin said.

    Most changes have focused on adding clarity, reach and consistency to communications systems, Hagin said. [AP]

Remember, his father didn’t know about scanners at grocery stores until he was an ex-president – I’m sure it is very easy to become reliant upon others to take care of your basic needs to the point of becoming disoriented when you have to start doing it for yourself again. GW does like high tech fishing gear – for more details see the AP article.

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About Eric Olsen

  • Vox Populi

    Former president Bush did indeed know and was familiar with supermarket scanners. The Clinton campaign spin in ’92, of course, was that he was so out of touch that he didn’t know what a scanner was. Fact is, the one that he was so amazed about was a new model that was being demonstrated and not the run of the mill scanner that he (and we) had not seen at that time.