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Obama Reaches Out to Nation, Lawmakers on Libya

Pete Souza/The White House/Getty Images
President Barack Obama leads a briefing March 21 on the current situation in Libya during a secure conference call aboard Air Force One. Obama plans to address the nation on Monday night about Libya.

"Our message is clear and unwavering," he said. "Gaddafi's attacks against civilians must stop. His forces must pull back. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach those in need. Those responsible for violence must be held accountable. Moammar Gaddafi has lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to rule, and the aspirations of the Libyan people must be realized."

Obama told lawmakers during the White House briefing Friday that there are no plans to use the U.S. military to assassinate Gaddafi, Politico reported. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) told Politico that Obama gave no timeline for U.S. involvement in the operation.

The White House said in a statement Friday that Obama took questions from lawmakers during the briefing. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) were among the lawmakers who participated, either in person or by phone.

Also participating were Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.), Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) and ranking member Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), Senate Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and ranking member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and ranking member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), House Armed Services ranking member Adam Smith (D-Wash.), House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and ranking member Howard Berman (D-Calif.), House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), and House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and ranking member Norm Dicks (D-Wash.).

White House Chief of Staff William Daley, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen. Carter Ham, who leads the U.S. Africa Command, were also involved.

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