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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Obama's FISA problem hits Florida

UPDATE: Obama voted for the bill today. Sen. Hillary Clinton voted against it, and Sen. John McCain was not present (though he supports FISA).

Sen. Barack Obama's Web site is a marvel in interactivity. Each day hundreds of supporters discuss the issues and rave about their leader.

But the freewheeling forum has had an unlikely downside -- spawning a virtual mutiny over Obama's newfound support for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a reversal reflecting his shift to the center.

Thousands of people on have lashed out at the Illinois Democrat accusing him of "caving in" and urging him to reconsider a vote to reauthorize the wiretap law. Naturally, some of the critics are Floridians.

"It is obvious that we will have some differences, and we will support you as our next president but this is too important. Don't go down this road," Ebonie Reid of Port St. Lucie wrote in one of the tamer responses.

So intense grew the criticism that Obama posted a message on July 4.

"This was not an easy call for me," he wrote, explaining that he felt the bill, being debated today, was far from perfect but a good compromise.

"... I'm certainly not perfect and expect to be held accountable too," Obama said. "I cannot promise to agree with you on every issue. But I do promise to listen to your concerns, take them seriously and seek to earn your ongoing support to change the country."

Of course there are plenty of people who take his side. Wrote one person on July 3: "I don't think he's doing what's politically expedient. If he were, he would drop the FISA business to please his liberal supporters who are threatning to leave him. I really believe he thinks this is the best course for now. Right or wrong, this is his gut choice. I'm standing by him."


[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:28am]


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