CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Well, the ACLU and Ron Paul are right, which is why it was a terrific speech. It was 90-percent smoke and mirrors and very little substantive change, which is what we need. In fact, it was the best use of Obama's rhetorical powers of dazzling with very little content since the '08 campaign.
Look, Obama knows he has to retain the program. It is extremely important. But he made enough rhetoric and enough nods to the other side, at least philosophically, and enough cosmetic changes to make it look as if he did something, but if you look at all the points you mentioned, they are really unimportant in the overall scheme.
It doesn't matter who keeps the records. What matters is do you collect them, and is it kept somewhere? Answer, yes. True, you're going to have to go thru the FISA court to access it, except in an emergency, so anytime you really need it, no court. And if you've got time on your hands so you'll have a procedure and you'll almost always end up with access. They're going to add an advocate, a privacy advocate, who will plead in the FISA court, but it seems only in novel cases, and not in routine ones. Big deal.
Overall, I'd with give him an A-minus, and if I were a lefty, I'd be really upset.