Tag, You're It: A Changing View of Executive Privilege
June 22, 2012 • 8:01AM

The administration has a tendency to "hide behind executive privilege every time there's something a little shaky that's taking place." This remark, reported in today's Washington Post, was made by none other than U.S. Senator Barack Obama in 2007. The subject was hanky-panky in the Bush Justice Department, and President Bush's assertion of executive privilege to block senior White House adviser Karl Rove from testifying before Congress in a scandal involving the firing of nine U.S. Attorneys for political reasons. "Obama urged Bush to consider 'coming clean,' adding that 'the American people deserve to know what was going on there,'" the Post recapped.

One can only recall the Watergate-era admonition of Nixon Administration officials, that previous statements were "no longer operative."

In a related blast from the past, the Washington Examiner recalled, yesterday, a 2005 Senate floor speech by Senator Obama opposing Bush's nomination of Alberto Gonzalez. Obama said, "The Attorney General's job is not just to enforce the President's laws; it is to tell the President what the law is. The job is not simply to facilitate the President's power; it is to speak truth to that power as well." The article says Obama added, "The President is not the Attorney General's client; the people are. And so the true test of an Attorney General nominee is whether that person is ready to put the Constitution of the people before the political agenda of the President."