Boehner Rejects McCain's Call for Airstrikes in Syria

(Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

House Speaker John Boehner today rebuffed Sen. John McCain's call for U.S.  air strikes on Syrian forces to protect rebel forces.

"I think the situation in Syria is pretty complicated," Boehner said today. "Until there is clearer direction as to what's happening there involving ourselves at this time would be premature."

In a booming speech on the Senate floor Monday,  McCain compared the turmoil in Syria to Slobodan Milosevic's war crimes in the Balkans during the 1990s. The former presidential candidate said the only way to protect civilians in some major population centers would be with American airstrikes on Assad's military.

"Time is running out. Assad's forces are on the march," McCain said. "Providing military assistance to the Free Syrian Army and other opposition groups is necessary, but at this late hour, that alone will not be sufficient to stop the slaughter and save innocent lives. The only realistic way to do so is with foreign air power."

Boehner's  statement wasn't the only jab at McCain during his brief press conference. When asked by a reporter about the influence of SuperPAC's on congressional races, Boehner said campaign finance legislation sponsored by McCain and former Democratic senator Russ Feingold had created the situation.

"The law is the law. We've pushed the donors out of the federal election process and pushed them into creating all these other vehicles," Boehner said. "I didn't like it when we passed McCain-Feingold. This is a reaction to what happened there, and it really is not good for the system."

McCain is ardently opposed to the private campaign fundraising entities known as SuperPACs. Earlier this year he told ABC's David Muir they would "destroy the political process."

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