“I don’t anticipate that you would see a succession of votes this week or anytime in the immediate future,” Obama told ABC News. “So I think there will be time during the course of the debates here in the United States for the international community, the Russians and the Syrians to work with us and say, ‘Is there a way to resolve this?’”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced Monday that he would hold off on scheduling a test vote on a use-of-force resolution in order to give the president more time to make his case to the country and to lawmakers.
The outcome of a Congressional vote remains uncertain at best, and even Obama declined to predict a win.
“I wouldn’t say I’m confident,” Obama told NBC News in one of six network interviews he gave as he tries to rally the country. The interviews aired Monday evening and come amid dismal polling for another military action.
Obama sounded both hopeful and skeptical that the new proposal by Russia to have Syria give up its chemical weapons to avert a strike was real.
“I think you have to take it with a grain of salt initially,” he told NBC. “But between the statements that we saw from the Russians — the statement today from the Syrians — this represents a potentially positive development. We are going to run this to ground. [Secretary of State] John Kerry will be talking to his Russian counterpart.”
The president told ABC: “Let’s see if we can come up with language that avoids a strike but accomplishes our key goals to make sure that these chemical weapons are not used.”
“I think what we need to do is make sure that the president has the opportunity to speak to all 100 senators and all 300 million American people before we do this,” the Nevada Democrat said. “When we get on this, we’re going to have this in a manner that is dignified and move forward in a way that’s expeditious, yet one that’s thorough.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, speaks with reporters in the Capitol after a speech on the Senate floor that accused the CIA of searching computers set up for Congressional staff for their research of interrogation programs.