Meet the Press   |  September 08, 2013

Panel: What if Congress says no?

A Meet the Press roundtable discusses the president's potential plans for action if Congress doesn't grant his request for authorization to intervene in Syria.

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

the moral case, the practical case and the fact that the president has made all the holocaust references, i want to ask you all the question i asked denis mcdonough . how does he not act even if congress says no?

>> and that's why i think this whole limited --

>> i'm not making a case for war in saying that. i'm just saying it's a predicament.

>> i think his case would look better, the moral argument would be the practical argument that you just made would be easier to understand if they weren't saying, but it's going to be a very limited strike, and it's not going to tip the balance of power too much, although i notice -- i did notice that denis was saying no, no, no, it may tip the balance. i think they're trying to change that tune. and i think that goes to the then the third part of this equati equation, right? if you're a member of congress, you're going well, then what does it do? and there are going to be tv pictures. we are going to kill civilians. we're going to kill some innocent victims with these bombs.

>> the president has to make the case this will have an impact. we've seen examples in the past when they happen where there were limited strikes that did make a difference. but in answer to your question, david, i think denis answered it in just the right way, which is don't ask -- answer an if question. i think it's very hard for him to act if congress votes it down. very hard to act.

>> i think the decisive point was that friday night walk with denis where the president said, i'm going to go to congress. i mean, prior to that, literally he could have bombed, done a national speech and said, here's why i did it. i'm commander in chief.

>> ask for forgiveness, not for permission.

>> almost no negative fallout. now he's in a situation where if he can't win this vote, i don't see how he politically stays --

>> do you think it was right for him to take us there?

>> i do think it was right for him to take us there, but now he's told the american people you get to define what i will or won't do.

>> quick thought.

>> that's brilliant. the american people should buy into america's actions around the world. and this has serious consequences. i think serious consequences if we don't act. we should have been doing this for 12 years. we haven't had a post-9/11 conversation. we've had commanders in chief taking unilateral action. and this is much better.