AP: “Deep uncertainty surrounding military action against Syria hangs over President Barack Obama’s three-day overseas trip to Sweden and Russia, which takes him away from Washington just as he’s seeking support on Capitol Hill for a strike. Before he departed Tuesday night, Obama urged lawmakers meeting with him at the White House to support his plan to punish Syria for allegedly using chemical weapons to attack its own people. The president won the backing of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, though that hardly guarantees support in the fractured House of Representatives.”
“The president indicated to reporters during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House Tuesday that he’s open to changes to his request for congressional authorization for strikes,” AP writes. He added, “This is not Iraq, and this is not Afghanistan.”
Speaking of changes to the authorization… NBC News: "Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Tuesday they reached an agreement on a draft resolution to use military force in Syria, setting a 60-day deadline, with one 30-day extension possible for the intervention -- while also barring the involvement of ground forces in the conflict....The draft could be voted on by the panel on Wednesday. If approved, it would be sent to the full Senate for a vote once members return from recess on Sept. 9."
Washington Post: "President Obama has turned the question of whether to strike Syria into an extraordinary national sales job — seeking to convince skeptics in Congress and among the public that military action would be worth the risk. It does not seem to be selling well. That’s the takeaway from the most recent national polling and the response from voters nationwide."
Politico: "Secretary of State John Kerry was forced Tuesday to repeatedly stress that U.S. troops will not be sent to the ground in Syria after an early comment that appeared to leave that option on the table. The Obama administration has tried to assure lawmakers and the public that any mission responding to the Syrian regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons would not involve U.S. ground troops. But when asked whether the administration would accept such a ban in a revised authorization resolution, Kerry replied that it would be 'preferable not to.'"
Bill Clinton speaks in Arkansas today on health care. Before some argue, why can’t Obama argue so clearly for the health-care act, let’s remember that Bill Clinton has already delivered a health-care speech of his own already… in 1993, when he failed to get his health law, spearheaded by Hillary Clinton, passed. In that speech, he invoked landing on the Moon and walls that have crumbled in Berlin and South Africa. He concluded, “Forty years from now, our grandchildren will also find it unthinkable that there was a time in this country when hardworking families lost their homes, their savings, their businesses, lost everything simply because their children got sick or because they had to change jobs. Our grandchildren will find such things unthinkable tomorrow if we have the courage to change today. This is our chance. This is our journey. And when our work is done, we will know that we have answered the call of history and met the challenge of our time.”
First published September 4 2013, 5:55 AM