Obama Sounds Off On Oval Office Phones, “Where’s the Fancy Buttons?”

By Kristina

Apr 15, 2011 12:06pm

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:

Expressing a little frustration with the IT department and technology at the White House, President Obama sounded off about the old-fashioned phones in the Oval Office.

“You know the Oval Office always thought I was going to have like real cool phones and stuff,” Obama said last night, “You know, we can’t get our phones to work!  I’m like ‘come on guys, I’m the president of the United States.’  Where’s the fancy buttons and stuff, and the big screen comes up? It doesn’t happen.”

Mr. Obama’s comments were caught on an open microphone at a fundraiser last night in Chicago, first notices and reported on by CBS Radio White House correspondent Mark Knoller.

The president said that that when it comes to technology the federal government is thirty years behind.

“I mean our IT and purchasing is horrible,” he added, “And this is true across the board. This is true at the Pentagon,  it’s true in the agencies, it’s true in the Department of Homeland security.”

Within his statement, made during the Q and A portion of the evening’s fundraisers the president also critique the performance of federal employees, which Obama noted that some are better than others.

“What’s striking when you enter into the federal government is how generally smart and dedicated people are. Obviously there are folks who are slugs and not trying to do their jobs. That’s true of any institution. But generally speaking, I would put up federal workers against any worker in the private sector and when you start talking about the White House  – I would,  you know they are as good as anybody else.”

-Sunlen Miller


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