Pete Souza / White House via Getty Images
In this photo provided by the White House, President Barack Obama meets with Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham and National Security Adviser Susan Rice to discuss Syria in the Oval Office on Monday.
The White House is making the hard sell for a strike on Syria — meeting with strategically important Republicans, trying to persuade skeptical Democrats and sending top members of the Cabinet to testify before Congress.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden huddled with the heads of key congressional committees Tuesday in the White House Cabinet Room. House Speaker John Boehner, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell were among those at the meeting.
In brief remarks to reporters, Obama stressed that American action would be limited and meant to “degrade” the capability of Syrian leader Bashar Assad, suspected of using chemical weapons against his own people last month.
“This is not Iraq, and this is not Afghanistan,” Obama said.
Among the day’s other major developments in the Syria crisis:
— Secretary of State John Kerry, who twice last week made a forceful moral argument for an attack on Syria, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel were due in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
— Israel test-fired a missile over the Mediterranean Sea, adding to tension in the region. U.S. military officials told NBC News that no American ships took part in the test, and called the test fairly routine.