WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's push for a military strike in Syria is gaining significant momentum. Leaders of both parties in Congress say they're convinced that Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against his own people, and that the U.S. should respond. Obama met today with more than a dozen lawmakers in the White House Cabinet Room to push for what he said would be limited strikes aimed at dismantling Assad's chemical weapons capabilities. Afterward, House Speaker John Boehner told reporters that a military response is something the United States "needs to do." He said he would support Obama's call for action, and that he believes his colleagues should do so as well. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also said they will support Obama because the U.S. has a compelling national security interest in preventing the use of weapons of mass destruction. But there is still opposition within both parties. A spokesman for Boehner says passage of a resolution supporting military action is an "uphill battle." Dozens of conservative Republicans and several liberal Democrats have come out against intervention. Pelosi said Americans need to hear more of the intelligence on Syria in order to be convinced that a strike is necessary. She says she hopes they will become convinced.
UPDATE: UN chief: Strike on Syria may unleash more turmoil UNITED NATIONS (AP) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is warning that any "punitive" action taken against Syria for an alleged chemical weapons attack last week could unleash more turmoil and bloodshed in that nation's civil war. Ban also cautioned nations such as the United States and France that may be considering such strikes that they are legal only in self-defense under the U.N. Charter or if approved by the U.N. Security Council. Russia and China have used their veto power in the council multiple times to keep it from taking action against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. President Barack Obama received key support from leaders in Congress on Tuesday for a potential strike.
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says he's confident he'll be able to work with Congress to pass a resolution authorizing military intervention in Syria. The president indicated to reporters during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House Tuesday that he's open to changes to his request for congressional authorization for strikes. He said he's serious about consulting with Congress, as long as the resolution sends a clear message to Syrian President Bashar Assad and hampers his ability to use chemical weapons. Obama said he wants the American people to know, quote, "This is not Iraq, and this is not Afghanistan." He said action in Syria will be limited and proportional. The meeting in the White House Cabinet room was attended by congressional leaders from both parties in the House and Senate. McCain attaches strings to support of Obama's plan WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. John McCain says he will support President Barack Obama's request to intervene in Syria if the move would "reverse the situation on the battlefield." McCain tells NBC's "Today" show it isn't sufficient to merely send a strong message to President Bashar Assad with a limited-range response. McCain says a resolution of intervention must include authority to degrade Syria's air defenses. The Arizona Republican says "it's an unfair fight" on the ground and that Assad has the upper hand. McCain says if the authorization doesn't change the balance of power and give the rebels a fighting chance, then it "will not have the desired effect." He says he supports giving Obama authority to act against Assad but that he "cannot support something that might be doomed in the long run."