Mary Matalin: 'Barack Obama Is Dick Cheney'

By Melanie Arter | January 20, 2014 | 8:04 PM EST

Political strategists James Carville and Mary Matalin. (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson, file)

( - GOP strategist Mary Matalin, in an roundtable discussion on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopolous," compared President Barack Obama to former Vice President Dick Cheney when it comes to the issue of national security.

"I love what you just said, that he was against it before he was for it. Now, Barack Obama is Dick Cheney -- we need these policies, they are necessary for our security," Matalin said.

David Remnick, editor of "The New Yorker," pointed out that as a senator, Obama was "highly against this kind of thing," but as president, his views "are radically different."

"As a Senator, I was critical of several practices, such as warrantless wiretaps.  And all too often new authorities were instituted without adequate public debate," said Obama in a speech on national security on Friday.

"Through a combination of action by the courts, increased congressional oversight, and adjustments by the previous administration, some of the worst excesses that emerged after 9/11 were curbed by the time I took office," he said.

"What I did not do is stop these programs wholesale -- not only because I felt that they made us more secure, but also because nothing in that initial review, and nothing that I have learned since, indicated that our intelligence community has sought to violate the law or is cavalier about the civil liberties of their fellow citizens," Obama added.

Matalin said Obama is having "a political problem."

"The nation has a problem trusting this government with personal data on account of the IRS tracking opponents of the president, health care rollout incompetence or just in general, identity theft over Christmas," Matalin said.

"We don't think we have control over this technology that's going to protect our privacy. That's why this is a hard political issue," she added.

Talk show host Tavis Smiley disagreed with Matalin comparing Obama to Cheney, but said he was "underwhelmed" by the president's national security speech on Friday.

" But I sometimes wonder that this president, I sometimes think, rather, that he is too cautious when he ought to be a bit more of a contrarian, particularly when a federal judge has said that part of this bulk collection is unconstitutional. And secondly, when you can't convince me how the dots connect to make us safer," Smiley said.