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Obama asks his 32 million followers on Instagram to text him with ‘what’s on your mind’

Former President Barack Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention via video on Aug. 19, 2020.
Former President Barack Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention via video on Aug. 19, 2020.DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE/NYT

Barack Obama just gave the whole country his digits, and he wants people to hit him up.

The former president and part-time Martha’s Vineyard resident posted to Instagram Wednesday that he wants to hear how Americans are doing and how they’re planning to vote — via text.

“All right, let’s try something new. If you’re in the United States, send me a text at 773-365-9687 — I want to hear how you’re doing, what’s on your mind, and how you’re planning on voting this year,” Obama posted to his nearly 32 million followers on Instagram.

“I’ll be in touch from time to time to share what’s on my mind, too,” he added, in a post that showed him holding up a cellphone to wife Michelle in a summery setting, outdoors on a stone patio, that — who knows?— could pass for their Vineyard home.


Three hours after the former prez gave out his number, the post had more than 1.5 million likes.

“Can we Facetime, too?” Oprah Magazine commented.

“Repping Chi-town!!!! Of COURSE. Love it,” wrote actress and producer Kerry Washington, referring to Obama’s 773 Chicago area code.

Emmy-winning producer Molly DeWolf Swenson, who interned at the Obama White House, added: “And it’s official, Barack Obama is my favorite person in my phone book (sorry friends & family.)”

Obama also tweeted his number, and some responded with screenshots of their phone, programmed with his digits.

Anyone who thinks the number is a direct line to the former commander in chief will be disappointed. Those texting the number immediately receive an auto-response (“Hey! It’s Barack.”) along with a link from Community to sign up for further texts, which, given the timing, are very likely to be election-related.

Still, some of it has a personal feel. “OK, I’ve got your number saved,” the next text reads. “Good to be connected.” It goes on to say that messaging and data rates may apply.


Obama is just the latest big name to get into the texting game. Comedian Amy Schumer often urges her followers to text her on Community, as do Reese Witherspoon, Post Malone, John Legend, Jennifer Lopez, and many other celebs.

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. She tweets @laurendaley1.