You are hereWashington Post: With new influence, Issa recasts self as Washington's whistleblower

Washington Post: With new influence, Issa recasts self as Washington's whistleblower

December 18, 2010- Rep. Darrell Issa is finally getting what he has long craved: subpoena power. From his new perch atop the committee responsible for oversight investigations, the California Republican will be able to demand any document he wishes and summon anybody to appear before him - no small thing for a man who recently referred to President Obama as "one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times."

Even so, there's one thing Issa says he won't subpoena: Barack Obama's birth certificate.

"Mine is not the committee that asks where the president was born," Issa said in an interview. "It doesn't ask what ministers that he went to think. All that stuff is a distraction. I'm not the overseer of the president."

The minority's gadfly is trying to become the majority's measured man. Issa is working to shed his reputation as an omnipresent, henpecking nuisance whose shouting-forth turns into political headlines. Now empowered to vastly expand scrutiny across the federal government, including the White House, Issa wants to be seen as Washington's whistleblower - not the president's persecutor.

Issa is one of the most anticipated new leaders of a revived Republican Party intent on denying Obama a second term. He will have to balance his own temptation to embarrass the White House against the mission to ferret out waste, fraud and abuse.

If he overreaches, Issa knows his credibility will be zapped.

"Our committee is the committee of stopping government from taking away your liberties, government from exceeding its authority, government from keeping your business from expanding and growing, government from spending your money less efficiently than you would spend it yourself," Issa said.