President-elect Obama and his family can't seem to go anywhere on their Hawaiian vacation without causing a stir.
His stay on Oahu has been a bit of a reality check as to how little privacy Mr. Obama now has, CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reported on The Early Show Tuesday.
Tracy says Mr. Obama "at times bristles at the constant media coverage, yet at others, offers to buy reporters dessert. And the media are trying to strike a balance between covering the man who is about to be the most powerful person in the world and giving him his space to just be himself."
Poliitico.com reported that the president-elect "took the unusual step Friday morning of leaving behind the pool of reporters assigned to follow him, taking his daughters to a nearby water park without them. It was a breach of longstanding protocol between presidents (or presidents-elect) and the media, that a gaggle of reporters representing television, print and wire services is with his motorcade at all times."
And CBS News consultant Dee Dee Myers, former press secretary to President Clinton, says Mr. Obama is trying to get comfortable being in the constant media bubble, with his every move being watched.
"From the time now President-elect Obama was a serious and likely winner," Myers told substitute co-anchor and regular Saturday co-anchor Chris Wragge, "he has had with him a pool of reporters -- (from the) networks, the wires, some photographers who go pretty much everywhere he goes when he leaves his home or the office where he works every day."
"(When Mr. Obama went to the water park without the press pool) They weren't assembled. They weren't expecting him to leave. It's a very big deal, because that pool goes with him in the hope that nothing happens, but in the possibility that something does happen. So that raises a question: Is this something he's gonna to try to do again, or was it an anomaly? Is he testing the limits as a new president on vacation? Is this something we're gonna see more of? I think it's unlikely that he'll try to slip the pool very often. He may do it once in while. Most presidents don't, because it creates a bad relationship with the press."
What if he chooses not to cooperate with the press corps?
"Then the press will stake him out 24/7," Myers responded. "Networks will get together and have a collective effort to make sure he never leaves the White House without somebody knowing that he's left. That's an uncomfortable situation for everybody. It's exhausting and expensive for the press. It's not very much fun for the Obama family.
"What's probably more likely is that they'll try to create a relationship, much the way the Clintons did where, particularly when they're traveling around town for family events to their children's school or perhaps church, they take a very small group of reporters who agree to stay back and not take pictures but be there in case, God forbid, something happens.
"It is always an adjustment. It's difficult for new presidents and their families to give up their privacy, but it's something that has evolved over many years, given the threats that all presidents face.
"In the Clinton administration, we sat down with the press and worked out an agreement where we'd have a very limited pool -- we called it 'the family pool.' When the Clintons were traveling to school or to some event involving Chelsea Clinton, it would be a very, very limited situation. They would be allowed to travel with the president while he was moving through the streets of Washington, through public spaces, but they would keep their distance once they were on campus at her school, for example.
"I think the Obamas will look for a very similar kind of relationship. And I think that's in everybody's interest. The president honors the press' responsibility to cover his travels, particularly through public streets and public spaces, but it also says to the family, 'We understand that you have young children that you need some privacy and we're going to do our best to honor that.' I think they can reach some accommodation, but it always takes some time in building of trust between the new White House press office and the existing press here in our nation's capital."