This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," July 5, 2008.
PAUL GIGOT, HOST: Up next on the "Journal Editorial Report," Barack Obama's right turn from terrorist surveillance to faith-based initiative. Why he is starting to sound a lot like George Bush?
As oil prices continue to drop, law makers look to shore up housing prices. But will their latest plan do more harm than good?
The anthrax investigation seven years later. With the government agreeing to pay the main suspect millions, is that deadly attack a cold case? Find out after these headlines.
(FOX NEWS BREAK)
GIGOT: Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
From his change of heart to his announcement this week that he intends to expand faith-based initiatives, Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, sounds more like George W. Bush these days than some on the left would like.
Here to tell us what is behind the move to the middle is Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor Dan Henninger and columnists Mary Anastasia O'Grady and Bret Stephens.
Dan, I have heard about candidates, most of them run to the middle after the win the nomination. Obama seems to be sprinting at least on some issues. Tell us about the issue of foreign intelligence observation that he was earlier dead set against giving power to the president, particularly immunity to the telecom companies. Now he's switched.
DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: Now he's switched and said he is in favor of the compromise worked out in Congress, and the left wing that supported him in the primaries is going ballistic because they really did not want that.
I think probably one is going on here is that the Obama camp understands they're going into the general election. Registered Democrats are pretty much locked in as are registered Republicans. There is going to be a big battle for the center. The center is intrigued with both of these candidates who are going to make an appeal to them. This is one area where John McCain can compete for votes. I think McCain is moving towards the center to push some of McCain's supporters...
GIGOT: You mean Obama is moving to the center.
HENNINGER: Yes, sorry. Obama is moving to the center.
GIGOT: I thought this was supposed to be an example of how Dick Cheney and George Bush were shredding the Constitution so they could spy on you, me, all of us in our personal lives. Apparently, not.
BRED STEPHENS, COLUMNIST: Apparently, the prospect that he might become president and be responsible for national security as a wonderful way of focusing the mind.
One thing on the politics here, I think voters will have to figure out pretty quickly exactly whom Obama was lying too. Was he lying to his Democratic base on trade when he promised to oppose NAFTA on the cultural tone? Now he is coming out in favor of the death penalty for child rapists, or is he lying to the center of the country asking his left to shut up for four months so he can get elected and then implement the kind of agenda he had been promising all along in his past life as a senator?
GIGOT: Mary, will the left wing of the Democrat party take this lying down?
MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY, COLUMNIST: More than jumping to the center, I think he's jumping back and forth. On trade, first he said he was against NAFTA. But his economic adviser said he was actually, just doing that for rhetorical reasons. He even said that. Last week when John McCain was in Columbia, he went to Ohio and said I'm going to renegotiate NAFTA.
So he is not really taken a position. Same thing on the economy. He said I am a pro-market, pro-growth guy. And he said he will raise taxes on the rich and bring about nationalized health care and do lots of other things that we don't associate with the center-right. So I don't think he actually...
GIGOT: Mary makes a good point about where and how he is moving and he is not moving right on economic issues, so far, certainly not on health care. Where he is doing it is on the cultural issues and national security, the place where former Democratic presidential candidates, who have lost, were vulnerable. Think of John Kerry, Michael Dukakis. I think he is moving on some things and not others.