'This Week' Transcript: Secretary of State John Kerry

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that's the big question, Jon. He would be the first president in modern times to lose a vote for military force. Where are the votes now?

KARL: Well, I talked to a senior Republican just a short while ago who tells me that if the vote were held right now in the House, he believes the president would lose.

There's a lot of work to be done. That Republican thinks ultimately the president can get authorization, but he is going to need to get a lot of Democratic votes, including a lot of Democrats generally reluctant to authorization the use of force.

This could be a nail biter, especially in the House.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Jon Karl, thanks very much.

Let's get more on the military implications of a delay with our veteran (inaudible) Martha Raddatz.

One person the president did consult early was General Dempsey. And he gave the president the cover he needed.

MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: He really gave him cover. And in fact it's real. Martin Dempsey said it would be just as effective if you did it today, tomorrow, or a month from now.

And think of it this way, George, it's kind of like a feint. The enemy, we watch the enemy, we watch the Syrian regime and how they responded to the idea of attack, where they started moving things. So in many ways it may be more effective a month from now, because we can train more, we can watch what the Syrian regime does and respond to that.

But, boy, they were ready. They had those destroyers in the Mediterranean ready to go.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And this is still a limited strike.

RADDATZ: They still say a limited strike to prevent and deter any more chemical attacks.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Martha Raddatz, and for how this is playing in Syria, let's go to ABC's chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran. He's in Beirut this morning. And apparently a lot of relief in Damascus.

TERRY MORAN, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: A lot, George. This came as good news, even more than good news, they claimed a victory this morning in Damascus, both the Assad regime and President Assad's supporters, of whom there are many. The deputy prime minister saying it was the Syrian army that warded off the aggression of the United States.

And in fact, and in fact they believe that the unified front that they had with Iran and with Hezbollah has essentially frightened President Obama into backing down from his attack.

Now, they also know that the Congress could authorize the use of force, but this delay gives them even more time to prepare. Church bells rang out, there where prayers sounding from minarets around Damascus. This came as a shock and a good one to the people of Damascus.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Not a good shock for the rebel leaders in Syria.

MORAN: Devastating, George. On Twitter and in public statements, leaders of that fractured opposition in Syria are expressing disappointment and disillusion with American leadership.

One of the leaders of one of those factions said the people of Syria are all alone now. They believe that the chemical weapons attack that they argue was carried out by Assad's regime has been carried out with impunity, and that the world is not ready to do anything.

Obama's leadership image in the Syrian opposition is probably at an all-time low right now, George.


And joining us now, the man who made America's case to the world for a military strike, Secretary of State John Kerry. Thank you for joining us, Mr. Secretary.

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