July 11th, 2008
01:15 PM ET
10 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. David in Illinois

    Not every change is a "flip-flop." Sometimes it's called "compromise," something McCain always touts as his alleged advantage in bipartisanship. Situations change, and true leaders' policy isn't written in stone. In matters of national security, true leaders SHOULD be willing to change their minds. And they take the heat for it, as Sen. Obama is doing.
    McCain changed his mind on Bush's tax cuts. Now THAT'S a true flip-flop. He's only trying to appease the fat cats.
    The blogosphere can rant all they want about Obama's change of heart. If they REALLY think they're going to get a better president with John McCain... then they should go right ahead and stay with him.
    Just remember, folks, it's McCain's SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISER who said we're all just a nation of whiners. Gas too expensive? You lost your job? Can't buy food for your family? Is your house in foreclosure?? QUIT COMPLAINING!! IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD.

    July 11, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  2. P, CA

    If you're voting for/against a candidate for one issue only, you're being the very definition of 'one-sided', which has historically always been something to work against.

    I disagree with Obama's vote on this, but if I were to stack everything up together and look at it all, I still say I like about 75-85% of Obama's stances and only about 10-20% of McCain's.

    July 11, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Tom St. Louis

    It seems Obama didn't realize how fickle the Generation Y, American Idol crowd that helped him get the nomination is. Now that he is doing something they don't like they are calling him a sellout.

    I find it interesting that everyone thought all of his ideas were so great, but now that he doesn't have Hillary's paper to copy from, he seems to be making a lot of errors in judgment. Oh wait, he's just "refining" his positions.

    July 11, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Chanda Cincinnati Ohio

    If you idiots who keep buying into this FISA vote as being a flip flop on Obama's part would do your research, and not drink the kool-aid of the media's sudden hate fest of Obama (CNN in Particular), then you would know that he already said from jump that he would support a revised version of the bill if certain measures were put in place to monitor those who are doing the monitoring. The original version pretty much let there be a free for all on wiretaps without the Government or the telecommunication companies not being held to blame, all under the umbrella of national security. Well this version makes it necessary for a FISA judicial committee to approve the surveilance and make it necessary to prove that there is credible evidence that the those being taped actually pose a national security risk. He was thinking of the civil liberties of the citizens in this country. He did not want there to be a missuse of authority. DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!!!!!!

    July 11, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. Logic mind

    So Obama voted for a bill that would protect private companies from being sued by the public because they merely followed and complied to a direct order filed by the FBI?

    Its like being sued for being honest and cooperative with the police.. What kind of america do you want to live in? An America where the public will threaten to take you to court for merely cooperating with government authorities? An america where your choice is either go to jail by the government or sued by the citizen all over picking a side?

    where's the common sense these days? oh thats right. its election season and noise like this is filled with half truths and excuses to blab mouth.

    July 11, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. DearyD

    Now really. Who would of thought that BO would flip flop – he is soooo honorable. Puleeezzeee.

    He's a conniving, power hungry thieving politician – same stuff new day. He's no better or different than the Clintons, Bushes or McCains.

    You people want real change? Then vote for a Libertarian and get your rights and constitution back.


    July 11, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. T GUY


    OBAMA 08........

    July 11, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  8. Joe

    Yes–another flip-flop for Obama. And now he says our kids have to learn Spanish. Not French, not Korean, he said Spanish.

    My three children are learning German. Sorry Obama, I guess you will have to make Spanish a MANDATORY subject like math and English...maybe not English

    July 11, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. David from Ohio

    I don't have a problem with his vote. As for flip-flopping, if you could turn the breeze generated by McCain's flip-flopping into electrical power, he'd actually have an energy plan. Sorry, wing nuts, you're not getting your way this fall.

    July 11, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  10. Stevik

    Obama's vote in favor of FISA is the last straw for me. I've worked hard for his election, travelling to New Hamsphire and New Jersey, as well as helping here in Pennsylavnia. I gave his campaign several contributions that I literally couldn't afford. And I even convinced my 87 year-old life-long Republcan parents to change parties to vote for him in the Pennsylania primary.

    I've been inspired by Barack Obama unlike any other politician. I believed, as he often says, that he'd bring a new kind of politics to Washington. His FISA vote was not only a broken promise of many earlier statements, it was an arrogant and cynical political move.

    I have asked for a refund of all the contributions I made to the Obama campaign and I am forced, yet again, to choose between the lesser of two evils when voting for the next president.

    You let me down big time, Barack Obama! You traded the civil liberties of the American people for political expediency. That is not a new kind of politics. It's the same old crap that make people so cynical about politics in the first place.

    July 11, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  11. John

    So much for anew kind of politics. It seema the OTHER candidate said she would not vote for it and didn't. This is Obama's to lose. I hope he gets it right.

    July 11, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  12. Tasha from Houston, TX

    We all have to make hard choices. Obama said it is not the bill he would have drafted, but it was the best we were going to get. We have to compromise. That's been the problem in Washington for the last 7 years, Bush's way or no way. And nothing has gotten done in Washington.

    July 11, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  13. SO WHAT!!!

    Frances _____ Typical politician. Regardless my vote will be going to him and not McCain.DITTO!!!!

    July 11, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. Sorensen

    Mr. Axelrod –

    Have you completely lost it??
    All this could cost him the election.

    July 11, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. TerryDo

    Maybe Obama like the idea of being permitted to listen to citizens whenever the government want to.

    Obama, is probably thinking if I become president, I will be able to listen to Rev. Wright and find out what he is up to, and I will also be able to lesten in on Jesse Jackson's phone calls and Obama will then know what Jesee Jackson really thinks about him..

    Big Brother is Watching and Listening and Controlling the Media, now what do we call that kind of government?

    July 11, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    All of you McCaine supporters are you crazy, did you see the interview yesterday on viagra he don't even remember how he voted he looked so stupid and out of touch with reality and this is who you want to answer the phone at 3:00am in the morning, he won't even remember answering the phone and might push the wrong button then all of you all will look as stupid as he did yesterday, Bush is wearing you out and you still have not gotten enough. May God have Mercy on all of your souls.

    July 11, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. Tejano

    Obamas is not what he claims to be. Those who choose to ignore this fact and willingly go along with this change agent will regret it when he destroys the nation our forefathers created. He has already destroyed my parent's Democratic Party and that is why for the first time, me and my family will vote Republican.
    McCain may not be the best candidate, but at least he will fight for our freedoms and will put country above self. Country about self is Patriotism folks. O has not spent one day in the military, his family has no history of service to our country and he is not one of us as he would have us believe. He has no clue as to the Black experience in America nor the Chicano experience. Jesse Jackson is absolutely right about him. He is capitalizing on the work done by the Civil rights leaders that do place America above foreign interests.
    God Bless Jesse Jacksonand the real Black Americans I respect.

    July 11, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. jfs Memhis, Tn

    This is a little late don't you think CNN ??? HOWEVER THE BIG NEWS STORIES ARE ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE. HOW ABOUT THE WHINNING ECONOMIC ISSUE??? HOW ABOUT JOHN'S SENIOR BLACK OUT MOMENT WHEN RESPONSING TO HE VOTED IN FAVOR OF INSURANCE COMPANY'S PAYING FOR VIAGRA INSTEAD OF BIRTH CONTROL MEDICATIONS??? HOW ABOUT JOHN'S STAND ON PRIVATIZING SOCIAL SECURITY ???? Now these are truely campaign issues. Please make them top stories so we all amy determine what is important to our country and not trying to cover up a WEAK Republican Candidate. Thanks... a former Regan Democrat.

    July 11, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  19. Connie

    Face it folks it does not matter who votes for this , Bush and his administration does not follow the law. For all you McBush people, news flash ,McBush did not even vote. Barack"Hussein"Obama 08

    Connie"Hussein"Sturgeon from Indiana

    July 11, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    My comment is awaiting moderation?


    July 11, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. Unify this..

    LOL how ironic that Obama blows any which way the wind blows, oh yeah change we can believe in ROTFLMAO.

    July 11, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    YES! once he is in office he will overturn this garbage.

    Oh wait, My comment is awaiting moderations right?

    July 11, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. Kiki

    The liberals now see that their messiah is like the rest of the other politicians. Obama is smart, he has trapped the liberals. LMAO!

    July 11, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. Sue


    July 11, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. LOL @ PUMA

    so tell me why did a republican found PUMA? and donate to John McCain?

    July 11, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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