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President Barack Obama said Wednesday the credibility of the international community and Congress is on the line in the debate ...
over how to respond to the alleged chemical attack in Syria. Obama made his case overseas during a visit to Sweden. (Sept. 4)
Tags:ap,AP News,Associated Press,Barack Obama,bashar assad,congress,Fredrik Reinfeldt,sen. john mccain,swedish prime minister,united states
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SHOTLIST:SOURCE: SVT/TV4 POOLRESTRICTIONS: AP Television Clients / NO ACCESS SWEDENStockholm, Sweden 4 September, 20131. SOUNDBITE: Barack Obama, President - United States:"When I said in a press conference that my calculus of what's happening in Syria would be altered by the use of chemical weapons which the overwhelming consensus of humanity says is wrong, that wasn't something I just kind of made up.2. SOUNDBITE: Barack Obama, President - United States:"My credibility's not on the line. The international community's credibility is on the line. And, America and Congress' credibility is on the line because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important. And, when those videos first broke and you saw over 400 children subjected to gas, everybody expressed outrage, how can this happen in this modern world? Well, it happened because a government chose to deploy these deadly weapons on civilian populations.3. SOUNDBITE: Barack Obama, President - United States:"There's no doubt, as I kind of indicated a while back, we've kind of hit a wall in terms of additional progress. But, I have not written off the idea that the United States and Russia will continue to have common interests, even as we have some very profound differences on some other issues. And, where our interests overlap, we should pursue common action. Where we have differences, we should be candid about them, try to manage those differences and not sugar coat them."STORYLINE:In an impassioned appeal for support both at home and abroad, President Barack Obama said Wednesday the credibility of the international community and Congress is on the line in the debate over how to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. As Obama made his case overseas during a visit to Sweden, his proposal for military intervention was under consideration by skeptical House members at home. Asked about his past comments drawing a "red line" against the use of chemical weapons, Obama said it was a line that had first been clearly drawn by countries around the world and by Congress, in ratifying a treaty that bans the use of chemical weapons. "That wasn't something I made up," he said. "I didn't pluck it out of thin air. There's a reason for it." Obama said that if the world fails to act, "we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important." And that, he said, would embolden despots and repressive regimes around the world to flout all sorts of international standards. "The moral thing to do is not to stand by and do nothing," he declared at a news conference in Stockholm with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. Back home, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee could vote on authorizing the use of force as early as Wednesday, the first in a series of votes as the president's request makes its way through Senate and House committees before coming before the two chambers for a final vote. And in a setback to Obama's push for backing on Capitol Hill, Sen. John McCain said he doesn't support the Senate resolution. McCain has been an outspoken advocate of intervention and wants more than cruise missile strikes and other limited action, although he has said he doesn't favor U.S. combat troops on the ground there. Sending a message to Congress from afar, Obama said Wednesday there was far more than his own credibility at stake. "I didn't set a red line, the world set a red line," he said. "The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of world population said the use of chemical weapons are abhorrent." He added that Congress set a red line when it ratified the treaty. With Obama in Europe, his top national security aides were to participate in a series of public and private hearings at the Capitol Wednesday to advance their case for limited strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime in retaliation for what the administration says was a deadly sarin gas attack by his forces outside Damascus last month.(****END****)