WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Barack Obama's vote in favor of anti-terrorist surveillance legislation on Wednesday marked an about-face on the issue that left him comfortably in the bipartisan middle, no matter the criticism from John McCain nor the discomfort among liberal Democrats.
"Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, Senator Obama chose to support" the legislation, his office said, even though it contained a provision the Democratic presidential nominee-in-waiting had flatly opposed.
Translation: With the general election looming, preventing another terrorist attack trumped fears that privacy rights may be violated.
Ironically, the Democratic presidential contender cast his vote one day after telling a campaign audience that accounts of a shift toward the center on the Iraq War, guns, the death penalty and other issues were unfounded. "The people who say this haven't apparently been listening to me," Obama said in response to a question at a town hall-style event.