Obama’s big gamble on Syria…. Arm-twisting time: Obama, Biden meet with congressional leaders at 9:45 am ET, while Kerry, Hagel, and Dempsey testify on Capitol Hill at 2:30 pm ET… A divided GOP… A divided Dem Party, too… When the rhetoric doesn’t match the action… And Cuccinelli, McAulliffe begin their final sprint.
In this image released by The White House, US President Barack Obama (C) meets in the Situation Room with his national security advisors to discuss strategy in Syria on August 31, 2013.
*** Obama’s big gamble: What a last 72 hours! One moment before the long Labor Day weekend began, it appeared certain that the United States was going to launch strikes in Syria. The next moment, President Obama reversed course and said he wanted congressional authorization before any military action, which now sets up key votes in the House and Senate as early as next week. It’s a giant gamble for the president. A loss could weaken him, especially as he heads into the tricky fall debates over the budget and debt limit. A victory, on the other hand, could possibly strengthen his hand. (Would a Congress that authorizes military action in Syria shut down the U.S. government and default just a few weeks later?) We understand why Obama opted for Congress’ approval -- without UN, UK, and Arab League backing, the administration needed some kind of cover. And our NBC poll released on Friday showed nearly 80% of Americans wanted the legislative branch to OK any military action in Syria.