Rep. Kucinich: Obama 'Still Has Time, But Time Is Running Out'

ABC News' Huma Khan reports: Former Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, said he is still waiting for President Obama to move the country forward in the direction he promised, reflecting the left's frustration with the president on national security policies they feel are a continuation of the Bush era.

"The American people were promised change in November, and change, it's in watching the last few dead leaves fall off a tree in the winter," Kucinich said on ABCNews.com's Top Line Friday. "It’s moving from winter to spring. We’re still waiting for spring."

Kucinich, like many of the left-wing of the party, said he has yet to see a significant shift away from the Bush administration's policies. While the president has ordered the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and repeatedly called waterboarding torture, he has also continued many of his predecessor's policies, including the war in Afghanistan -- where the president will send more troops -- rendition policy and use of the "state secrets" privilege. Obama also retracted his decision to release photographs showing detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, irking some on the left.

"We’re still waiting for that kind of significant change which can tell us that we’ve really moved away from the Bush administration policies, which caused an America to rise up, and reject not just a party, but they rejected an administration’s approach to human rights, to peace, to everything," Kucinich said.

The chairman of the House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy said Obama still needs to work on those issues, including ending the controversial military commissions. Last week, the Obama administration reinstated military commissions, albeit with changes that offer detainees that undergo trials more rights than in the Bush administration.

"Make sure there’s not going to be anything that even remotely approaches torture," Kucinich said. "All of these policies that we’ve been trapped into by the Bush administration, we have to, we have to get away from so that we can reclaim the fullness of the America that we love."

Kucinich also assailed former Vice President Dick Cheney, who defended his administration's policies on harsh interrogation techniques and other national security issues in an opposing speech to President Obama's on Thursday.

"I think that Mr. Cheney should be brought before the Congress, made to raise his right hand, and have to testify about the statements he made that took us into a war, that created an increased national security problem for the United States," Kucinich said.

Kucinich called for more "civic involvement" and a movement to express support for the measures he thinks President Obama should take.

One issue the Democrat from Ohio does side with Obama on is closing the detainee center at Guantanamo Bay. This week, Senate and House lawmakers -- including several Democrats -- rejected $80 million from the war funding bill to close the facility, saying they want the president to present a more detailed plan on how the administration will close the detainee center and what it will do about the prisoners housed there. Many say they do not want detainees to be sent to prisons in the United States, which is one of the options the White House has suggested.

Kucinich argued against that view, saying that the "United States penal system has a serious set of super max prisons that could hold people pending trial and also, if you don’t have a case against individuals, we’re not entitled to hold people ad infinitum."

Echoing Obama's comments that the United States must hold on to its Constitution and values, Kucinich added, "Our reputation as a nation depends on our ability to adhere to the rule of law, not only for our country, but internationally, and we’re still aren’t there with respect to the treatment of prisoners and the existence of Guantanamo."

It's not just on the national security front where Kucinich said he wants to see change. He said he wants to see more action from the president on the domestic front, including on job creation and health care.

"We need to have still, a massive jobs program to put millions of people back to work. We need a single care healthcare system that will restore industry and that will give all Americans real healthcare. We need a national manufacturing policy that says that the maintenance of steel automotive, aerospace and shipping is vital to our national security," he said.

"I think Barack Obama still has time, but time is running out," Kucinich added.

And as for whether Obama is taking his supporters on the left for granted, Kucinich replied: "The American Eagle needs two wings to fly. I’d like to see both of them get some exercise."

Click HERE to watch the interview with Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

We also chatted with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos about the opposing views Obama and Cheney presented in their dueling speeches Thursday, the challenges Obama faces in closing the detainee center and potential Supreme Court nominees.

Click HERE to watch the interview with George Stephanopoulos.

UPDATE: At a press conference this afternoon, Kucinich lashed out at the administration's plan for U.S. automakers.

"We have $70 billion U.S. dollars being used to close plants and dealership and all this is being done to open the market up to China," said Kucinich said, who wants the president's auto task force to halt activities temporarily.

"This is the kind of an auto recovery plan as if someone came in to the hospital and put a pillow over the face of the patient," he added later.

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