World | Crisis In Syria

Obama Has No 'Intention' To Strike Syria If Congress Says No

NPR | Sept. 6, 2013 8:22 a.m.

Contributed By:

Mark Memmott

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President Obama on Friday at the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.

President Obama on Friday at the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Kevin Lamarque, Reuters/Landov

“The president of course has the authority to act” even if Congress does not support his plan for a military strike on Syria, White House deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep earlier today.

But Blinken also said of the president that it is “neither his desire nor his intention to use that authority absent Congress backing him.”

Blinken’s reference to the president’s intentions is getting attention because the question of what happens if Congress says “no” has been much debated since Obama asked lawmakers to give him the green light.

On Wednesday, as we wrote, the president said he did not ask Congress to authorize the use of force against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime “as a symbolic gesture,” but added that “I always reserve the right and responsibility to act on behalf of America’s national security.”

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« Obama To Address Nation About Syria On Tuesday

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