Question 1

Does the president have inherent powers under the Constitution to conduct surveillance for national security purposes without judicial warrants, regardless of federal statutes?

Barack Obama

The Supreme Court has never held that the president has such powers. As president, I will follow existing law, and when it comes to U.S. citizens and residents, I will only authorize surveillance for national security purposes consistent with FISA and other federal statutes.

Hillary Clinton

No. The President is not above the law.

John Edwards

I strongly oppose George Bush's illegal spying on American citizens. Surveillance that takes place within the United States should be performed with judicial oversight, as the law provides.

Bill Richardson

No.

Christopher Dodd

Absolutely not – I have been a very vocal and early opponent of this Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program and efforts to provide retroactive immunity for the companies who participated. The choice between national security and civil liberties is a false choice. Indeed, our adherence to the rule of law enhances our international standing and leverage, and accordingly enhances our national security. I’ve made it clear that I will return from Iowa and filibuster any bill that makes it onto the Senate floor including retroactive immunity language.

Joseph Biden

No. The President is not above the law, he is bound by valid acts of Congress. Our laws state clearly that no one can wiretap Americans without a warrant. By willfully authorizing warrantless wiretaps of Americans, the President violated the law, and he should be held accountable.

John McCain

There are some areas where the statutes don’t apply, such as in the surveillance of overseas communications. Where they do apply, however, I think that presidents have the obligation to obey and enforce laws that are passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, no matter what the situation is. ... I don't think the president has the right to disobey any law.

Mitt Romney

Intelligence and surveillance have proven to be some of the most effective national security tools we have to protect our nation. Our most basic civil liberty is the right to be kept alive and the President should not hesitate to use every legal tool at his disposal to keep America safe.

Ron Paul

Absolutely not.

Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani declined to answer this question.

Mike Huckabee

Huckabee declined to answer this question.

Fred Thompson

Thompson declined to answer this question.