Obama Pleads His Case on Syria: 'I Believe We Should Act'


Earlier in the day, Obama personally made his case to all senators on Capitol Hill, lunching first with the Democrats, then Republicans. Since Friday, the president and his team have directly lobbied nearly 450 members of the House and Senate, including private briefings for key members in the White House situation room, calls from Air Force One and nearly a dozen classified briefings.

In recent days, Obama has conceded that he may ultimately fail to turn public opinion, which is still strongly against military intervention in Syria despite more than a week of lobbying on Capitol Hill and speaking directly to the American people.

The effort, the most intense of Obama's presidency, may be the biggest test yet of his leadership: Asking for support on a national security issue and failing to get it, would make him look weak around the world and like a lame duck at home.

Above all, what the president does not want is for Congress to undercut his efforts internationally by voting to reject his Syria resolution. So the president today asked Senators to wait a bit before voting -- to give him more time -- to work on diplomacy, but more importantly, to work on lining up votes.

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