Obama seeking Congressional support for Syria action

The president met with congressional leaders today.
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President Obama has an important new ally in his call for military intervention in Syria. House Speaker John Boehner now says he supports Obama's decision, and is calling on his colleagues to follow suit. The president is working to raise support from lawmakers before leaving the country to meet with foreign leaders.

More than a dozen congressional leaders spent their morning at the White House in the latest meeting led by President Obama aimed at convincing lawmakers to support the use of military force in Syria.

"What we are envisioning is something limited. It is something proportional. It will degrade Assad's capabilities and at the same time we have broader strategy that will allow us to upgrade the capabilities of the opposition," said the president.

Lawmakers are greatly divided about how to respond to last month's chemical attack that left 1,400 civilians dead.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) wants to oust the Assad regime but may vote against an attack if it appears too limited.

"I can't support something that I'm afraid may be doomed for failure in the long run," said Sen. McCain.

Other lawmakers are hesitant to support any use of military force, just yet.

"I think there are some very appropriate questions that we need to ask," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

"What are repercussions of actions going to be? Are we prepared for those?" said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

Lawmakers will get answers to some of those questions Tuesday with another classified briefing on Capitol Hill.

As the president's security team testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, the crisis in Syria is growing. The United Nations estimates seven million people have now been displaced. Over 100,000 refugees from Syria have flooded into Jordan, straining resources there.

President Obama is trying to assure war-weary lawmakers and Americans that this attack wouldn't be another Iraq or Afghanistan. The administration will continue to make its case in almost daily meetings with lawmakers through next week. That's when Congress officially returns from recess and could take a vote.