President Barack Obama pushed back on the idea that his credibility is on the line if Congress fails to authorize strikes against Syria — saying they own the “red line” he set a year ago.
“First of all, I didn’t set a red line,” Obama said. “The world set a red line,” he said, noting the treaty against the use of chemical weapons.
“Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. Congress set a red line when it indicated that in a piece of legislation titled the Syria Accountability Act that some of the horrendous things happening on the ground there need to be answered for,” he said.
Obama said that when he used the “red line” term a year ago, “that wasn’t something I just kind of made up. I didn’t pluck it out of thin air.”
Obama said that his credibility wasn’t on the line — Congress’, America’s and the international community’s credibility was.
He declined, meanwhile to answer definitively whether he would strike Syria even without Congress but said that his decision to go to Congress was not “symbolic.”
He said it was important to “get out of the habit” of having the president stretch his authority to take action on his own, while Congress snipes from the sidelines and is not fully invested.
Obama also took aim at people who do not support the military action, saying that diplomacy had failed.
“I do have to ask people, well, if in fact you are outraged by the slaughter of innocent people, what are you doing about it?” he said.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, along with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, right, and Annette Tilleman-Dick, left, wife for former Rep. Tom Lanots, D-Calif. Clinton was honored with the Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize during a ceremony last week at the Cannon House Office Building. Previous winners include the Dalai Lama and Elie Wiesel.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.