White House: Obama 'Never Considered Cancelling' Syria Address
President Obama took to television last night to plead his case on Syria to the nation. But the speech the president delivered last night was, by all accounts, far different than the one he originally intended to give.
Instead of solely pressing his case for military action, President Obama asked Congress to postpone its vote on authorizing the use of force against Syria's Assad regime and asked for more time to pursue a diplomatic solution.
ABC News' Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl asked Press Secretary Jay Carney at Wednesday afternoon's White House briefing if there was any "consideration whatsoever to cancelling" the speech.
"I would be intimately involved in that consideration and it did not take place," Carney replied. "And the reason for that is that it is still very important for the president to speak to the American people about what he views to be necessary in response to this appalling attack by the Syrian regime against its own people … and to explain also the now potential diplomatic avenue that has been opened that could allow us to resolve this without resorting to military force."
Karl also asked Carney whether the president asked for the vote to be pushed back because support for military action in Congress was slipping.
Carney said it was because the administration is "exploring a diplomatic avenue, and members of Congress are interested also in exploring that diplomatic avenue."
"The president thought that was an appropriate thing to do," he added, but reiterated that the White House continues to support its original call to authorize military action.
"What remains true is that the credible threat of U.S. military action is on the table. And it is because that threat is on the table that we have seen the kind of about-face from the Syrians that we've seen in these last several days and we've seen the constructive approach that the Russians have taken in the last several days." Carney said.