Obama Addresses The Nation On Syria - Live Blogs & Updates - ABCNews

Obama Addresses The Nation On Syria

  • Obama says he is dispatching Secretary of State Kerry to meet with the Russian foreign minister in the days to come regarding a potential deal for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to the international community. The president also noted that he will continue his own discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Obama invites members of Congress as well as the American people to "view those videos of the attack" and then decide whether the U.S. needs to take action to "stop children from being gassed to death."
  • Near the end of his speech, which lasted just over 15 minutes, President Obama quoted President Franklin Roosevelt: "Our national determination to keep free of foreign wars and foreign entanglements cannot prevent us from feeling deep concern when ideals and principles that we have cherished are challenged."

  • On our ABC News special report, ABC's MARTHA RADDATZ told DIANE SAWYER that a military strike on Syria has been "delayed for weeks if not months" unless the diplomatic deal falls apart.
  • ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ: Sen. Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was the first senator to respond to the president's speech and said the U.S. must consider Russia's proposal on Syria. “The diplomatic door has opened ever so slightly and while I have doubts about this 11th hour offer, it would be wrong to slam the door shut without due consideration," Menendez said. "A negotiated solution to a crisis is always preferable and if this possibility is legitimate, I’ll give it serious thought. At the same time, the credible use of military force is necessary to keep on the table."
  • Another senator, Bill Nelson, D-Fla., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, reacted to Obama’s speech: "It is the threat of military force that has brought Assad to the point of considering international control of his chemical weapons. What Congress should do now is authorize the president’s request of a limited strike. Assad should be warned that if he does not turn the chemical weapons over to international custody in the next three weeks, then the president is authorized to strike.”
  • Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus weighed in on the speech with a sharply critical statement: “The administration’s handling of the U.S. response to Syria has been so haphazard it’s disappointed even the president’s most ardent supporters. This rudderless diplomacy has embarrassed America on the world stage. For a president who campaigned on building American credibility abroad, the lack of leadership coming from the Oval Office is astounding.”

  • House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., released this statement tonight: “The President using the credible threat of American military action to bring diplomatic solutions back to the table demonstrates the strength of his leadership and his willingness to exhaust every remedy before the use of force. As the Obama Administration continues to pursue a diplomatic resolution, the President justly made clear tonight that the threat of military action remains on the table as we continue to work to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction, a pillar of our national security.”
  • ABC’s RICK KLEIN offered some instant analysis of President Obama’s speech. His full story will be posted on ABCNews.com shortly, but until then, here’s a sneak peek: “In a debate that’s brought strange bedfellows, this is hard to top: President Obama is now hoping that Vladimir Putin saves him from his own Congress. The president tonight offered virtually no new arguments and little fresh urgency in his push to confront Syria over chemical weapons. The only short-term option is the one supplied by the Russians, in a dizzying series of events that brought quick recalculations on the part of the White House. The prime-time address underscored the extent to which the president is stuck in a box he constructed. It capped an extraordinary 10-day span where Obama tested the limits of his own powers of persuasion -- and then found them, promptly and uncomfortably.”
  • A few more insights from ABC News Political Director RICK KLEIN: "[The] real reason the president doesn't want to go to Congress now is that he can’t. A vote on authorizing force against Syria would be defeated handily, weakening the president to a degree the White House can’t stomach. This is the context by which the Russian offer to help rid Syria of chemical weapons looks 'encouraging.' It will take weeks to play out, and could easy fizzle, but it has the benefit of offering an attractive off-ramp to the Syrians, the Russians, and possibly the Americans now as well."
  • ABC's Senate reporter ARLETTE SAENZ has been collecting statements from lawmakers. Here are a few: 

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