I have included a short video in which Obama answers questions about Manning and also makes remarks about Daniel Ellsberg who leaked material called now the Pentagon Papers. There is a long blog entry criticising Obama at this site.
The video was shot at a fundraiser in the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco. A group of activists paid thousands for tickets to infiltrate the event. In the clip Obama says:"We're a nation of laws. We don't individually make our decisions about how the laws operate." "He broke the law." Finally, before removing himself from the conversation, he says Manning "dumped" information and "it wasn't the same thing" as what Daniel Ellsberg did because what Ellsberg leaked "wasn't classified in the same way."
Two things bother me about this statement. The blog brings up many more issues. I suggest you read it for other criticisms.
First, the statement finds Manning guilty before he is ever tried. Surely that the president has said something such as this will make any fair trial difficult if not impossible. Secondly, what he says about Daniel Ellsberg is simply false as far as I know. The material that Ellsberg released was very secret and classified. See this article on the Pentagon Papers.
""Ellsberg secretly made several sets of photocopies of the classified documents to which he had access; these later became known as the Pentagon Papers. As an editor of the New York Times was to write much later, these documents "demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration had systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress, about a subject of transcendent national interest and significance".
Although the entire Pentagon Papers study has been published by various sources starting with the Times in 1971 and ending with the National Security Archive in 2002, the work remains classified. ""
So unless the article is entirely wrong Ellsberg certainly did release classified material. All in all a surprising interview especially with someone who should know the law.
UPDATE: There is a much more thorough article by Glenn Greenwald at this site.