Meet the Press   |  September 08, 2013

Udall: 'I haven't changed my mind'

Sen. Tom Udall visits Meet the Press to discuss Capitol Hill's current status on Syria.

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

>>> the fight on capitol hill where the president is trying to convince even skeptical members of his own party. joining me the senator from new mexico, a democrat on the foreign relations committee . he voted against giving the president authority for strikes this week in a key preliminary vote. senator, welcome. you just heard denis mcdonough preview what the president will say to you and the rest of the country tuesday. have you changed your mind?

>> no, david, i haven't changed my mind. and i think the most important thing here is we -- we all know, first of all, that what he did, bashar al assad , was a heinous act. it's despicable. my heart is broken when i see that video and you see women and children dying as a result of chemical weapons . so let's be clear on that. and i think it's pretty clear that he did this. but the big question for the congress right now is what is the most effective way to move forward? and i think the american people don't want to be embroiled in a middle eastern civil war . this is an act of war that we're going to take. we haven't exhausted all of our political, economic and diplomatic alternatives. and that's where i want to be focusing. we ought to be rallying the world . we ought to be rallying the world because all the world agrees, david, all the world agrees you shouldn't use chemical weapons . and make sure that russia knows that they're complicit in this. this is what we need to be doing.

>> senator --

>> i'm very disappointed that the administration has given up -- they have given up on the united nations and on rallying the world .

>> senator, we have a three-second delay, so it's difficult, a apologize for jumping in, but i want to pin you down on something. the world has not been rallied. russia is opposed to this. but you just heard the chief of staff of the president say that the intelligence here is rock solid. the president has issued a red line . are you not concerned about inaction on the part of the united states if this, in fact, occurred and the president said he'd have to take action if that were to happen?

>> i don't think we have inaction, number one. i think we're doing more than any other country in the region. i think we have moved effectively there to provide defenses to our allies who are rallying the international community in terms of humanitarian aid . but the key question right now is how are we going to be effective in the future? how are we going to save lives? how are we going to move to this political solution? and i don't think a couple of tomahawk missiles delivered in on top of the syrian military are going to do that. i think what we're talking about is moving much too rapidly down the war path and not trying to find a political solution through the international community . and russia , we haven't even made them vote. you know, everybody says, well, russia 's going to veto it. they keep saying they haven't seen the intelligence. we ought to show them the intelligence. we ought to take the intelligence to the world and like has been done in the past, in the united nations and the security council , a presentation has to exactly what has happened here and why russia is complicit in all of this. and i think we have a real chance to move us forward in a very, very positive vein.

>> all right, senator tom udall this morning with quick reaction to the administration's case. i appreciate your time very much.