Amash: Obama 'Embellishing' His Case Against Syria

Sunday, 08 Sep 2013 04:22 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The Obama administration is embellishing its case to take action in Syria, Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash claimed Sunday, saying there is "overwhelming disapproval" among his constituents and most other Americans against the president's call for military strikes.

"I think that there are some things being embellished in public statements," Amash said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday. "The evidence is not as strong as the public statements that the president and his administration have been making."

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And while White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said earlier in the program that "nobody" is disputing the evidence that Assad's regime was responsible for chemical attacks that killed more than 1,400 civilians in Damascus, Amash said he takes issue with the public statements from the Obama administration.

"The briefings haven't given me comfort," Amash said. "[They] make me more skeptical about the situation."

Further, the Michigan lawmaker said, his constituents overwhelmingly disapprove of taking action in Syria.

Amash said that after the president made his announcement to seek Congressional approval of strategic strikes against the Syrian government, his office sponsored a series of town hall meetings.

"Eleven meetings in two days, and what I saw was astonishing," he said. "What I saw was not just disapproval of war, it was overwhelming...you really have to take that very seriously."

Amash said that lawmakers need to keep their constituents' wishes in mind, which will make a statement about democracy overseas as well.

Meanwhile, Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings said that while 77 percent of his district voted for President Barack Obama, that support doesn't extend to military action in Syria, and the president has a long way to go to convince people.

"He has to come in front of Congress and the nation," said Cummings, who remains undecided over whether he backs the president's call for action. "When you ask Congress to be involved, you're also asking our constituents."

He noted that Obama "is being held to a higher standard, the reason being Iraq," and war-weary constituents don't want the country to become involved in a similar situation.

Meanwhile, Cummings said he plans to look at more limited plans for involvement that may come through the House before he decides how he'll vote.

"If we go in and find ourselves mired in a civil war, what do we do?" he said.

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