POLITICS
06/19/2013 01:36 pm ET Updated Jun 19, 2013

Karl Rove: Obama Isn't Dick Cheney Because He Didn't Have 'The Guts' To Defend NSA Programs

GOP strategist Karl Rove said Tuesday that President Barack Obama and Dick Cheney are different when it comes to national security. The president, he said, didn't have the "guts" to defend controversial NSA programs.

Speaking on Fox News, Rove weighed in on Obama's recent remarks about the NSA's massive surveillance programs, in which he sought to distance himself from comparisons to Cheney.

“He’s right, he’s not Dick Cheney," Rove said. "Dick Cheney at least had the guts to step up and defend these National Security Agency programs, where the president was sending out the underlings in order to defend it himself and then going on a talk radio program, a TV talk program, as he fled the country for the G-8 meeting."

In an interview with PBS that aired Monday, Obama attempted to deflect criticism over the NSA programs, calling them "transparent" and subject to sufficient oversight.

Rove suggested that Obama's defense was too little too late, and that Cheney had done a better job as an unabashed champion of the expansive monitoring programs.

“Dick Cheney understood how important this was and offered himself up as a defender of a program, which was begun under the Bush years and continued under President Obama,” he said.

Cheney has long claimed that the surveillance practices, which civil libertarians have decried as unconstitutional and illegal, are a necessary tool to combat terrorism in a post-9/11 world. During a speech in 2006, he stridently defended the Patriot Act, claiming the nation could not "afford to be without its protections."

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