WASHINGTON — For, the proposed overhaul of the American surveillance state confronts him with a fundamental choice: Will he become the commander in chief many expected in 2008 or remain the one he became in 2009? Or is there a balance in between?
At the heart of the report by a White House advisory group is a challenge to Mr. Obama’s conception of his presidency. A candidate who promised to reverse what he saw as excesses in the war against terrorists wound up preserving and even amplifying many of the policies he inherited. With his last election behind him, he is being challenged to decide if that is still the right approach.