Obama Confident Congress Will Approve Syria Strike
President Obama said this morning that he's confident Congress will pass a resolution to intervene in Syria and that he's willing to be flexible and work with lawmakers on the specifics.
"I would not be going to Congress if I wasn't serious about consultations and believing that by shaping the authorization to make sure we accomplish the mission, we will be more effective," he told reporters at a White House meeting with congressional leaders.
"And so long as we are accomplishing what needs to be accomplished, which is to send a clear message to [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad, degrading his capabilities to use chemical weapons - not just now, but also in the future - as long as the authorization allows us to do that, you know, I'm confident that we're going to be able to come up with something that hits that mark."
Asked whether he's confident Congress will support his request for military action against the Assad regime, Obama said, "I am."
"This is not Iraq, and this is not Afghanistan. This is a limited, proportional step that will send a clear message not only to the Assad regime but also to other countries that may be interested in testing some of these international norms that there are consequences," he said in the Cabinet Room with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., seated to his left and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to his right.
"It will degrade Assad's capabilities. At the same time, we have a broader strategy that will allow us to upgrade the capabilities of the opposition, allow Syria ultimately to free itself from the kinds of terrible civil wars and death and activity that we've been seeing on the ground."
The meeting comes one day after the president sat down with Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at the White House as part of his ongoing effort to "flood the zone" and convince lawmakers to get on board.
The president is meeting today with 16 ranking members and chairmen of the national security committees and members of the congressional leadership. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, are the notable exceptions.