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Boehner, Pelosi Unite Behind President On Syria

President Obama met with more than a dozen lawmakers, including House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, at the White House on Tuesday to press his case for a military strike in Syria.
Carolyn Kaster

President Obama's call for Congress to give him the go-ahead to strike targets in Syria has put House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on the same side of an important issue for one of the few times in recent years.

Calling Syrian President Bashar Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons "a barbarous act," Boehner emerged from a meeting at the White House to say he supports Obama's request.

Assad and others with weapons of mass destruction need "to understand we're not going to tolerate this type of behavior," Boeher added.

Pelosi said that by using chemical weapons, Assad "crossed a line" — but not one that President Obama drew. It's a line that "humanity drew decades ago," she said, in a reference to the post-World War I international agreement to prohibit the use of chemical weapons.

Earlier, as we reported, 2008 Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona was making the rounds of the morning news shows to elaborate on his reasons for supporting the Democratic president's request.

Obama said earlier Tuesday that he's convinced Congress will support a resolution that authorizes the type of military action that would send a "clear message" to Assad and cripple the Syrian leader's "capability to use chemical weapons not just now but in the future."

But the president's request does face opposition in the House — from some in his own party as well as from some of Boehner's fellow Republicans. Many of those lawmakers do not believe that striking Syria is in the USA's national interest.

CNN, by the way, is tracking House members' public positions on the president's request.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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