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How the iPod President Crashed: Obama's Broken Technology Promise

Barack Obama promised to use technology to make Americans believe in government. The failure of healthcare.gov may do the opposite
How the iPod President Crashed: Obama's Broken Technology Promise
Illustration by Steph Davidson

Behind this week's cover
Pete Souza/Obama Transition Office/Getty Images

In the 2008 election, President Obama’s advisers talked of their boss’s belief that it was time for an “iPod government.” Obama, a technology addict who tools around on his iPad before going to sleep and who fought the U.S. Secret Service bureaucracy for the right to carry a smartphone, would be the first president truly at home in the Digital Age. That put him, he thought, in a unique position to pull the federal government into the Digital Age, too. His administration wouldn’t just be competent. It would be modern. And it would restore America’s faith that the public sector could do big things well.