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Friday, September 6, 2013

Obama Press Conference

Appearing just now in St. Petersburg.  Running account re: Syria below:

--Opening statement:  Syria's a  true threat to neighbors and increasing chances of the weapons falling into hands of threats.  Failing to respond "will send signal" to rogue regimes that they can develop and use.  Why nations have called for action (doesn't admit almost no one will join us).  In coming days "will continue to consult with Congress."  Will address U.S. public on Tuesday.

--AP reporter asks him to list countries who back military action.  He replies maybe tonight.   Did he change any minds there?  Unanimous that chem weapons used and norm against using "has to be maintained."  Majority is "comfortable with the conclusion that the Assad gov't was responsible for use." Where there is a division: as to the UN, because "a number of countries" believe you need to go through Security Council.   On inspectors:  Good to "get more information rather than less."  (Pathetic.) But believes no action from Sec Council on this.   Prefers multi-lateral action but in this case when this big a "breach" and "international community paralyzed" then "norm unravels" and "makes for a more dangerous world."

--Again with the claim that "over 1400 gassed" and over 400 children--still with no evidence cited and 3 or 4 times what others say--if he means killed.  If he is switching to simply "gassed" rather than killed then that is significant and an admission that he misled the world earlier.   But likely just a slip.

--Second question on Dems opposing his Syria resolution the more they hear in classified briefings.  And will he go ahead and bomb anyway?  Obama: "I knew this was going to be a heavy lift..
where you will is people seeing a slippery slope and how effective" results of strike would be.  "Is it possible Assad doubles down and uses CW more widely?  Anything is possible.  But wouldn't be wise."  Biggest concern of American people: Have to understand that attack would be "limited."  Refuses to say whether he would bomb if Congress opposes.  Won't "jump the gun."  So to speak.  But admits not an "imminent  threat" to us or our allies so no need to act "right away."

--Chuck Todd notes the more Kerry talks the more opposition.  Also you say limited but we have reports that extending targets and mission creep.   Obama calls those reports "inaccurate."

--Next question:  Why shouldn't Congress members go along with overwhelming sentiment of U.S. public?   Says won't engage in "parlor games" if will pass. Reps have to listen to constituents but still have to vote based on what's "right' for America.  Seems to say he is glad he went to Congress and get full debate while hinting may not go along with their vote.

--Compares this to when London getting bombed by Hitler it was unpopular in USA to enter war then.

--From Major Garrett:  on fast-track to bombing or considering ideas from Congress such as giving Syria 45 days to start destroying stockpiles?  Says he's listening, some good ideas.  "Not itching for military action" but gassing kids really bad. "So far I've not seen ideas presented that would do the job." Obama at least twice has corrected himself when he charged Assad with using the weapons, adding something like "or generals" under him.

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