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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Obama Confident Congress Will Approve Syria Action

President Barack Obama pauses after speaking to media in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, before a meeting with Congressional leaders to discuss the situation in Syria. From left are, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, the president, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

President Obama pauses after speaking to media in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, before a meeting with Congressional leaders to discuss the situation in Syria. From left are, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, the president, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

President Barack Obama said Tuesday he’s confident Congress will authorize a military strike in Syria, and he won the support of House Speaker John Boehner, who said acting against Syria was something “the United States as a country needs to do.”

Boehner, Congress’ top Republican, emerged from a White House meeting with Obama and told reporters the U.S. must respond to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons. Boehner said only the United States has the capability and the capacity to stop Assad and warn others around the world that such actions will not be tolerated.

Obama’s meeting with congressional leaders was part of his push to win over support for his request for authorization for limited military strikes against Assad. He indicated he is open to changing the language to address lawmakers’ concerns, but urged them to hold a prompt vote.

“So long as we are accomplishing what needs to be accomplished, which is to send a clear message to Assad, to degrade his capabilities to use chemical weapons, not just now but also in the future, as long as the authorization allows us to do that, I’m confident that we’re going to be able to come up with something that hits that mark,” Obama said.

With war-weary Americans skeptical of sparking another long-winded intervention, Obama tried to assure the public involvement in Syria will be a “limited, proportional step.”

“This is not Iraq, and this is not Afghanistan,” Obama said.

Boehner’s support is key; however, Republicans in Congress do not speak with one voice. Some tea party-backed Republicans are among those who have expressed skepticism.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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