July 11th, 2008
01:15 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama's surveillance vote spurs blogging backlash

Sen. Barack Obama said he voted for the surveillance bill because it will help protect the nation.
Sen. Barack Obama said he voted for the surveillance bill because it will help protect the nation.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama's vote for a federal surveillance law that he had previously opposed has sparked a backlash from his online advocates, who had energized his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In October, Obama had vowed to help filibuster an update of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that gave telecommunication companies that had cooperated with President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program immunity from lawsuits.

After 9/11, Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop, without the mandated warrant from a federal court, on electronic communication involving terrorist suspects.

Critics said Bush's Terrorist Surveillance Program was a violation of civil liberties.

The Senate voted Wednesday on the bill updating FISA - which had a provision to shield telecommunications companies that had cooperated in the surveillance. Obama joined the 68 other senators who voted to send the bill to the president's desk.

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soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. Substance not Rhetoric

    This move was ingenious. Obama is about the smartest candidate since Bill Clinton. For all of you who do not understand this vote. McCain biggest gripe is Obama toes the liberal line and for all his so called crossing party lines has always voted democratic. Well this vote not only stops that argument but also shows he will do what is necessary to protect this nation, make hard the decisions even though it may not be well received. Now what does mccain have left.

    Back to mudslinging

    July 11, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. Bob E

    I am an independent and have been an Obama supporter. Yet what he did on this vote concerns me. How can he condemn mc cain for following bush policy while he is doing the same. Sorry but this is election year politics, say what you think people want to hear, then do exactly the opposite. Then have the audacity to explain how it is in my best interest.

    July 11, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  3. James Hussein, SC

    Senator Obama said he could not support FISA as it was previously. He now supports the updated FISA Bill as an improved choice and protectionary measures for the citizens. It is good to see that he is willing to stand on a position that may not be as popular as once was, even if it could cause him to lose his bid for the Presidency. Isn't this the judgement that we the people asked for?

    Well anyone who claims this is change or flip-flopping has got the whole thing wrong. Has anyone thought to ask himself, why Senator Obama should change to hurt himself?

    Some people say that Obama will do anything to get elected. This certainly proves them wrong.

    July 11, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Not from me!

    Obama 08/12

    July 11, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. Not Stolid

    The bill changed specifications, so after re-analysis Obama madea decision. Why is changing one's mind viewed as a negative entity. Re-evaluation is a part of LIFE. I woudl be squared of an individual that never changed there mind on a topic, especially if the facts change.

    July 11, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. Barack Obama is Our 44th president! YES WE CAN !

    The public seems to think all of those people on the FISA blog are Barack's supporters, but I beg to differ. Now there isn't anything wrong in not agreeing with everything Barack does but the way some people are behavioring over his decision to vote for the bill is overboard and outrageous, so much so, that I fail to think they are true democrats are heart. For all we know they are republicans creating much distraction pretending to be supporters on Obama's web site.

    True democrats supporting Barack would definitely not carry on in such an ugly, outrageous, and disrespectful manner as most of those people have.

    It's time for REAL change in Washington, it's time to elect Barack Obama for president !

    July 11, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. Mike the Independent from Ohio

    How can someone vote for a candidate who no one even knows a position he holds. In the beginning I was all but sure going to vote for Obama, but with everything that has gone on with this guy over the past months, I think anyone voting for him is showing a huge lack of judgment, I'm not saying I'm about McCain, he can't be trusted either, its an election like this that I hope for a strong 3rd party candidate to emerge

    July 11, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. DonnieJ

    The courts would have shielded the telecom companies from liability anyway. They were following orders from the federal government, after all (as wrong as those orders were). I'm still voting for Obama.

    July 11, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. Dr. Bob

    Flip..............Flop...................Flip..................Flop
    You NObamanots must be really proud of your candidate. He's losing votes by the minute. I can't wait for the debates. Another John Kerry in the making. Clinton supporters – 2012 sounds really promising.

    July 11, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. Only 4Obama

    As a big Obama supporter, I have to say this FISA bill was the only thing I would have to strongly disagree with Obama on. Yes, admittedly he did flip-flop and I understand he did it to be more centered. However, I think once he gets in office maybe he can add more restrictions to this bill.

    July 11, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. Jay from NYC

    As an Obama voter I am surprised that he is in now favor of this but I will give him the benefit of the doubt as to why he supports it. In the end it does make the country safer.
    President Obama is da Man
    "Stop whining, it is all in your heads"

    July 11, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  12. sarah

    *sigh* is there anyone to actually vote for.. Clinton is well.. psycho, McCain is well ... psycho... Obama is showing that it doesn't stand for anything more than 2 weeks.

    I truly hope this isn't habitual

    July 11, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. Barack Obama is Our 44th president! YES WE CAN !

    The public seems to think all of those people on the FISA blog are Barack's supporters, but I beg to differ. Now there isn't anything wrong in not agreeing with everything Barack does but the way some people are behaving over his decision to vote for the bill is overboard and outrageous, so much so, that I fail to think they are true democrats at heart. For all we know they are republicans creating much distraction pretending to be supporters on Obama's web site.

    True democrats supporting Barack would definitely not carry on in such an ugly, outrageous, and disrespectful manner as most of those people have.

    It's time for REAL change in Washington, it's time to elect Barack Obama for president !

    July 11, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  14. Independent Colorado

    Actually, I think this decision shows Obama has character. He could have taken the easy way out like most politicians would have and voted no. Obama voted for the FISA bill because he is looking at the overall picture. The bill says the government can not put us under surveillance from this point on which Obama feels is the most important thing right now. But, as President Obama, he will seek retro-active punishment for those the government and the tele companies who were involved in those illegal activities. I think this was a really smart move. It shows he not only thinks for today but tomorrow. Bright fellow.

    July 11, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. Tristan

    I prefer a "flip-flopper" who flip flops into the direction that will will save the country.

    Obama 08

    July 11, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Mauri

    I agree with those who have discovered Obama's definition of CHANGE. Immunity to companies who help the government listen in to our conversations is definitely a political move owned by the Republicans, installed by George W. Bush himself. This means that Obama has made his most important CHANGE of all - to becoming, in essence, a member of the opposition party. That, couplled with his switch on ending the war in Iraq and bringing the troops home is equally in step with the Republicans. Now, can overturning Roe vs. Wade be far behind? I say we'd better be cautious in making this man our nation's leader.

    July 11, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. gram

    He's been a liar and fake all along. Hillary might save him, but again, he doesn't deserve it. Wonder what will happen in Denver when he doesn't get his votes.....

    July 11, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. momof3

    hmm... summer time.. flip flop gives you the most comfort... LOL.

    July 11, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  19. MaryanneAZ

    This story is old news. Obama did what he had to do–make a decision aye or nay. He found the revised version to be closer to what he wanted (minus the immunity which he tried to strike down by amendment) and for that reason voted aye. Anyone with a 5th grade education understands that governing is about compromise and continuously striving toward the goal of a more perfect Union. The FISA bill is another step in that direction. Once Obama is elected POTUS, then he will be able to make further strides (especially if we have enough sense to vote in more Democratic senators and congressman). Let's give the man a chance. The future is much too important to trust senile McCain with our lives in his hands. Obama '08

    July 11, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. Russ, Albuquerque

    Seems like this has been misreported. The Telecoms had immunity simply by acting on requests from the attorney general, but that is another two issues. This bill did not grant anything to the telecoms they didn't already have.

    July 11, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. Independent in Iowa

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Typical polician. He's been flipping on a lot of things lately. Just as predicted – he's all talk with no substance. A lot of empty promises, folks.

    I was coming around to voting for him but I don't think I can bring myself to do it. I might just sit this one out this year for the first time ever.

    And that traitor Bill Richardson can take a hike. I have no respect for that man.

    July 11, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. Teddy California

    The conditions are so perfect for Obama to win. There is no need for him to dance around. He should just keep his promises. He should propose a set of policy changes. He will then get mandate after he wins. If he just wavers on every issue and does not propose any major policy changes, it will be very hard for him to govern after election. Democrats will control the congress. The Democratic congress leaders will be more powerful than him, the President. He will be pushed around by them. The power of Presidency will greatly dimished. The Separate of the powers will be gone. The congress will the dominating power. Do you think Obama will be tough enough to deal with the House Speaker and other Democratic congress leaders? If Obama does not perform well just like Carter as a President, Republicans will come back and dominate for another couple of decades.

    Obama must stand up for something. He does not have to keep all his positions. But if he is changing almost every position, that is NOT a leader. It is NOT IMPOSSIBLE for McCain to win if Obama is not careful.

    July 11, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. Obama 08

    Yes. Some Barack supporters were NOT happy, but we are capable of putting things in proper perspective.

    No way that we allow this one issue to help McNugget.

    Today McFlip...Tomorrow McFlop.
    But we will always be..."a nation of whiners."

    July 11, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. cheryl (RETIRED VETS FOR OBAMA)

    GET A GRIP! God forbid if there was another attack on the U.S. and Obama had voted against the bill, you same uninformed people would still be complaining against him. I appreciate a leader that can make a decision based on serious security facts versus what will make him popular with crowd. I am sure that the military men and women can appreciate his decision...Leadership involves making tough and informed decisions. GO OBAMBA 08/12

    July 11, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. ANGIE

    you have to understand obamas view on this i do he may end up being the president and he can have a closer look at this this was hard for him with being a senator at the same time running for president i trust him he opposed the old bill but the bill changed so he changed once again thats not flip flopping thats changing with circumstances

    July 11, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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