McCain Says Vote to Strike Syria Hinges on Strength of Resolution

Tuesday, 03 Sep 2013 12:13 PM

By Dan Weil

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Sen. John McCain on Monday indicated he supports President Barack Obama's plan to attack Syria, yet on Tuesday he said he won't back legislation to authorize a strike unless it is strong enough.

"I can't support something that may be doomed to failure in the long run," the Arizona Republican said on NBC's "Today" show. "If this resolution does not do what we discussed with the president of the United States yesterday . . . then this resolution will not have the desired effect."

McCain and fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina conferred with Obama at the White House Monday. After the meeting, McCain said "the consequences would be catastrophic" if Congress voted down military action against Syria in response to dictator Bashar Assad's reported use of chemical weapons against his own people.

Story continues below video.



The support of the two hawkish GOP senators could be crucial to Obama's strike plan passing the Senate and perhaps the House as well.

But McCain wants to see what Congress comes up with in a resolution before committing himself to it.

"I’m not signing on until I see the details," he said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."



The senator later told the "Today" show, "I'm already talking to a lot of my colleagues, but before I persuade them to support this, I have to be persuaded. A weak response is almost as bad as nothing."

McCain, making the rounds of the TV network morning shows, also said on "CBS This Morning" that Obama could have made things easier on himself in the first place by acting without congressional approval.

"I don’t think the president should have done this. Once he announced that we were going to have strikes, I think he should have acted, as other presidents have, both Republican and Democrat," McCain said.

At this point, Obama also needs to make the case for a strike tothe American people.

"I think the president needs to talk to the American people from his desk in the Oval Office and show again these pictures of the bodies stacked up, show them the horrific situation of 1 million children refugees, of the 100,000 killed [in Syria]," he told CBS.

"There’s been no plan and no strategy that has been articulated by anyone except that we will have attacks. We’ve got to fill in the blanks there, and the president can do that by talking directly to the American people."

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