(NEWSER– Appearing on Charlie Rose last night, President Obama had a few things to clear up: First, he's not, as Rose put it, "Bush-Cheney lite." "Some people say, 'Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he’s, you know, Dick Cheney,'" Obama said. "Dick Cheney sometimes says, 'Yeah, you know? He took it all lock, stock, and barrel.'" But Obama argued that he takes a different approach than that of his predecessors, the Daily Intelligencer notes.

"What amuses me is now folks on the right who are fine when there’s a Republican president, but now, Obama’s coming in with the black helicopters," he says. His administration's version of government surveillance, he said, has congressional and secret-court approval—contrasting with Bush's. "My concern has always been not that we shouldn’t do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances?" Further, "The way I view it, my job is both to protect the American people and to protect the American way of life, which includes our privacy." Other key moments from the conversation:

  • Should we avoid Syria completely after Iraq? No, Obama said, per the Washington Post: "We’ve got serious interests there. And not only humanitarian interests; we can’t have the situation of ongoing chaos in a major country that borders a country like Jordan, which in turn borders Israel."

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