Alex Witt   |  May 04, 2013

The scope of American intervention in Syria

White House Correspondent for The Hill, Amie Parnes, and Congressional Reporter for The Washington Post, Ed O’Keefe, join Mara Schiavocampo for the morning’s First Check of Politics. Both Amie and Ed give their take on the scope of American intervention in Syria. Amie addresses the progression of immigration reform in Congress and Ed talks about Ted Cruz’s appearance in South Carolina.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> and joining me now here in the studio for more on this, white house correspondent for the hill, amie parnes and congressional reporter for "the washington post ," ed o'keefe. thank you both for being here this morning.

>> thanks for having us, mara.

>> let's listen to a little bit more of what president obama is saying about syria . let's start with that.

>> we have evidence that chemical weapons have been used. we don't know when, where or how they were used. we are initiating on our own to investigate and get a better handle on the facts inside of syria .

>> amie i want to start with you on this one, the president says he does not foresee a situation where they would put u.s. boots on the ground . but how much pressure is on the white house right now to do something regarding syria , and what do you think are the best options?

>> there is some pressure on him. i mean, you've heard a very vocal john mccain and senator lindsey graham come out and say, you know, you need to do something. this is outrageous. but you know, he's taking a very methodical approach to this. he's saying we need to find out when and where and how these were used. you don't see much changing. the only thing you saw yesterday was him kind of saying while we don't want to rule anything out, we are going to not most likely not put boots on the ground . but whether or not israel changes that factor remains to be seen.

>> and, ed, the president had previously said that the use of chemical weapons would be a red line here. they're still trying to determine if they were using, and if so, to what extent. but if there is going to be some kind of intervention by the u.s., what do you think the trigger or triggers for that could be?

>> well, certainly stronger confirmation that they were actually used. i think there's a lot of consternation that relying on these initial reports might set them up in a way that the u.s. government was set up during the iraq conflict . and so they're trying to get much more confirmation on that. i can tell you from here in south carolina where i am talking to senator graham last night he actually said he agrees with the president that boots on the ground aren't necessary. but that perhaps some international coalition could set up a no-fly zone, put more pressure on the syrian government to get out of the way, there's a big concern he has, certainly, for how things might destabilize across the region, whether it's in jordan, south to israel, and of course over in iraq. so he got some initial support last night based on those comments from one of his biggest critics.

>> now president obama is addressing immigration reform in his weekly address this morning. in costa rica yesterday he commented on senator patrick leahy 's plans to add an amendment to the immigration bill that would let gay americans sponsor their foreign born partners for green cards . let's listen to that.

>> i think that the provision is the right thing to do. i can also tell you that i'm not going to get everything i want in this bill. republicans are not going to get everything that they want in this bill.

>> republican senator marco rubio warned that this amendment could kill the immigration bill , and senator jeff flake called it a deal breaker for most republicans. amie, you write about this in your latest article. how does the president resolve this particular issue?

>> well, i think what you heard him say is that while he does support this provision, and would like to see it in there, he's not going to get everything he wants. he would like to see it in there. but, of course, that might likely not happen. so -- but i think he will -- he does want to support -- he will support the overall immigration bill , even if it doesn't include this provision. and he made that clear yesterday.

>> and, ed, shifting gears a little bit. your latest article is titled ted cruz speech in south carolina fuels buzz about presidential campaign . why is that getting so much attention?

>> well, it was a big night . you know, we had vice president biden here in columbia meeting with democrats, and then ted cruz was headlining a dinner hosted by republicans. any time any republican comes to this state before 2016 and speaks so publicly in such a big setting it, of course, fuels speculation, his speech came the same week that he had friends telling the national review that he is thinking about it, because he's been hearing from supporters all across the country. and he gave a pretty standard, you know, stump speech talking about the various principles of being an american, and the things that keep this country great. the type of stuff that motivates a republican crowd in an early primary state. he paid tribute to the state's various lawmakers, and didn't do anything to put to rest the idea that he might run. but as former senator jim demint , his good friend said look, he's been traveling the country, every time he invokes the name of ted cruz republicans get very excited. add him to a list that likely includes marco rubio , rand paul, paul ryan and others and you know, with 3 1/2 years to go, it looks as if perhaps 2016 , the campaign cycle, at least, is under way.

>> it will be here before we know it. amie parnes