By Lee Speigel

Jan 9, 2009 9:15pm

Sunlen Miller reports:

President-elect Obama is still hooked on his BlackBerry.

At a press conference today in Washington, D.C., Obama made passing reference to sending an e-mail — almost certainly on that device — to one of his Secret Service agents whose son had played in a winning football game.

"I’ve sent him an e-mail telling him congratulations," the president-elect said.

Obama’s BlackBerry was a mainstay on the campaign trail. He often wore the device on his hip when not at campaign events, and spoke about how one of the best ways to stay in touch with family and friends was by sending a quick e-mail message.

But in just 11 days, the president-elect’s prized possession will likely be taken away — largely for legal reasons. A president leaving an electronic paper trail of correspondence isn’t the wisest of courses.

But the BBerry sacrifice won’t come without a fight first from the future president.

"This is a problem," Obama joked with ABC’s Barbara Walters about having to give up his BlackBerry, in an interview right after he was elected. "One of the things that I’m going to have to work through is how to break through the isolation, the bubble that exists around the president. And I’m in the process of negotiating with the Secret Service, with lawyers, with White House staff."

Obama said that the worst thing that could happen to a president would be to lose touch with family and friends and only be able to communicate with the 10 or 12 people who surround a president in his office in the White House on a daily basis.

This week, in an interview on CNBC, Obama joked about his impending fate. "I’m still clinging to my BlackBerry. They’re going to pry it out of my hands," he said. While still not giving up the idea of him being electronically connected to the outside world, he added, "I think I’m going to be able to get access to a computer somewhere. It may not be right in the Oval Office. The second thing I’m hoping to do is to see if there’s some way that we can arrange for me to continue to have access to a BlackBerry."

The New York Times had an interesting take this morning — wondering how much an Obama endorsement of BlackBerry could rake in — quoting marketing experts between $25 and $50 million.

- Sunlen Miller

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