January 26, 2006


Setting aside, for the moment, all legal questions about the terrorist surveillance program, there was one answer today at the President's press conference that made it crystal clear why Democrats can only hurt themselves by pursuing the issue:

[Q:] [W]hat do you say to Democrats who charge that you're abusing your constitutional authority?

BUSH: I would say that there has been a historical debate between the executive branch as to who's got what power. And I don't view it as a contest with the legislative branch. Maybe they view it as a contest with the executive; I just don't.

I view the decisions I made, particularly when it comes to national security, as necessary decisions to protect the American people. That's the lens on which I analyze things.

And I understand we're at war with an enemy that wants to hit us again. Osama bin Laden made that clear the other day and I take his words very seriously.

And I also take my responsibility to protect the American people very seriously.

BUSH: And so we're going to do what is necessary within the Constitution and within the law, and at the same time guaranteeing peoples' civil liberties, to protect the people.

And that's how I look at this debate.

Now, there's all kinds of people taking a step back and saying, "Well, this is this. This is that." And I recognize throughout history people -- there have been a debate about legislative power and executive power.

Part of the questions asked here today, kind of, reflect that debate.

I'm going to leave that to the lawyers. I believe I've been hired by the people to do my job, and that's to protect the people.

And that's what I'm going to do, mindful of my authorities within the Constitution, mindful of our need to make sure that we stay within the law, and mindful of the need to protect the civil liberties of the people.

There simply is no politically helpful rebuttal to that.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 26, 2006 9:52 AM
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