Barack Obama

Obama: I'm Not Cheney, Syria's Not Iraq

Says he's more thoughtful

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NSA leaker Edward Snowden summarized many people's feelings toward President Obama when he said he had "believed in Obama's promises," but after the election, "He continued with the policies of his predecessor." In a 45-minute interview with Charlie Rose on Monday night, Obama challenged the idea that he's just "Bush-Cheney lite," as Rose put it. The president suggests the biggest difference is that he's more thoughtful than his predecessor;  He's not charging into Syria on skimpy evidence, and he's added oversight to the NSA's spy programs to protect civil liberties. "Some people say, 'Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he's, you know, Dick Cheney,' " Obama quipped. "Dick Cheney sometimes says, 'Yeah, you know? He took it all lock, stock, and barrel.' "

In his remarks on the NSA, most of which were leaked this afternoon, Obama argued that unlike Bush, he's ensured that all of the government spying on his watch was approved by Congress and the secret FISA court. "My concern has always been not that we shouldn't do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances?" said Obama. He added, "I think it's fair to say that there are going to be folks on the left – and what amuses me is now folks on the right who are fine when there's a Republican president, but now, Obama's coming in with the black helicopters."