Seemingly on the surface, it appears as though Obama has changed his tune on the idea of people being able to sue telecom companies which aided the Bush administration following 9/11 with the terrorist surveillance program.
This story from Fox News explains the details:
Barack Obama voted Wednesday afternoon for a surveillance bill that includes a provision he once opposed, giving Republicans ammunition in their argument that he is shifting positions to appeal to political moderates.
The bill, which passed the Senate and is expected to be signed by President Bush, would set new rules for government eavesdropping, and includes a measure giving immunity to telecommunications companies that helped the government eavesdrop on Americans without court permission after Sept. 11.
Obama voted for an amendment earlier Wednesday that would have stripped the bill of such immunity â€” but after it failed to pass, he still supported the overall bill.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, a senator from Illinois, angered liberals when he first voiced support for the compromise last month.
He said at the time that it was a â€œclose call,â€ but that the legislation made sure that the president â€œcanâ€™t make up rationalesâ€ for wiretapping without warrants.
He said the legislation â€œmet my basic concerns.â€
Obama fought against such immunity last year. He released a statement in December saying he â€œunequivocally opposes giving retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies. â€¦ Granting such immunity undermines the constitutional protections Americans trust the Congress to protect. Senator Obama supports a filibuster of this bill, and strongly urges others to do the same.â€
He reaffirmed his opposition in a February statement that said, â€œThere is no reason why telephone companies should be given blanket immunity to cover violations of the rights of the American people.â€
Before Obama even arrived at Capitol Hill on Tuesday, McCainâ€™s campaign needled him for supporting the compromise.
â€œA few short months ago, Barack Obama outwardly opposed terrorist surveillance legislation, saying that he would filibuster any bill that includes immunity for American telecommunications companies,â€ spokesman Tucker Bounds said. â€œToday, the U.S. Senate will approve legislation providing the immunity Barack Obama supposedly opposed, and despite his promise, he will not support a filibuster.
â€œWhat Barack Obama will do is show that heâ€™s willing to change positions, break campaign commitments and undermine his own words in his quest for higher office.â€
Nothing too big here but it does appear to be a change of position since Obama first supported giving people the right to sue such companies.