August, 2013

Why Obama Decided to Ask Congress

“A stroll around the White House grounds with his top adviser on Friday evening changed President Obama’s mind about getting Congress to sign off on a military strike in Syria,” senior White House officials told NBC News.

“Obama had been leaning toward attacking Syria without a congressional vote for the past week… But a growing number of Congressional members were beginning to question the administration’s strategy by the end of the week. And an NBC News poll released Friday morning showed that nearly 80% of Americans agreed that the president should seek approval in advance of taking military action… Officials said Obama also was influenced by Thursday’s lively debate in the House of Commons.”

What if Congress Votes Against Syria Attack?

“Following Obama’s Saturday address, during which he announced he had decided the United States ‘should’ take military action in Syria and also decided to seek Congressional approval, administration officials clarified to The Daily Beast that they can’t rule out the president might act even if Congress fails to authorize the action of using American military force in Syria. Officials declined to speculate whether Congress would vote to authorize military action or not when it comes back to Washington.”

A senior State Department official tells Fox News “the president’s decision to take military action in Syria still stands, and will indeed be carried out, regardless of whether Congress votes next week to approve the use of such force.”

White House officials told BuzzFeed that Obama “wasn’t giving the legal power to authorize the Syria attacks back to Congress, leaving open at least the possibility that Obama could strike after the Congress decides not to authorize strikes.”

Obama Will Seek Authorization for Syria Attack

President Obama announced he would seek congressional authorization to launch an attack on Syria over its use of chemical weapons on its own citizens, NBC News reports.

Said Obama: “I know well we are weary of war but we are the United States of America and we must not and cannot turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus.”

Los Angeles Times: “Congressional approval could prove difficult, as conservatives and
liberal Democrats have expressed uneasiness with a military campaign.”

Unlikely Allies Question Obama on Syria

“Congressional unease over a potential U.S. military strike on Syria has created some unlikely allies in the normally divided House of Representatives,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Some of the most conservative and most liberal members of the House were among the 186 lawmakers who signed letters this past week calling on President Barack Obama to seek congressional authorization for any military action.”

New York Times: “The White House on Saturday moved to shore up domestic and international support for a possible military strike against the Syrian government in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack on its own people, just hours after United Nations inspectors left Syria.”

U.S. Waging Secret War in Cyberspace

U.S. intelligence services “carried out 231 offensive cyber-operations in 2011, the leading edge of a clandestine campaign that embraces the Internet as a theater of spying, sabotage and war,” according to top-secret documents obtained by the Washington Post.

The discosure “provides new evidence that the Obama administration’s growing ranks of cyberwarriors infiltrate and disrupt foreign computer networks.”

GOP Senators Can’t Avoid Primary Challenges

“For the past two years, Republican senators facing re-election have very deliberately spent millions of dollars, hired multiple consultants and cast scores of conservative votes with one goal in mind: avoiding the embarrassing primary conflagrations that befell their party in 2010 and 2012 and cost Republicans a chance at taking back the Senate,” the New York Times reports.

“It has not worked. Despite their careful efforts, some of the best-known and most influential Republicans in the Senate have been unable to shake threats from the right and have attracted rivals who portray these lawmakers as a central part of the problem in Washington.”

Rubio Heckled by Conservatives

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) “came face-to-face Friday with how his support for a bipartisan immigration deal has hurt his standing with the GOP’s tea party wing, facing loud hecklers during a speech to a group of influential conservative activists,” the Washington Post reports.

Rubio’s speech “was punctuated repeatedly by calls of ‘No amnesty!’ from attendees scattered throughout the audience of about 1,000 people. Rubio did not acknowledge the shouts, but he ended his speech with an impassioned description of the promise that he said America offers immigrants such as his parents, who came from Cuba.”

Anti-Spitzer Fundraising Fizzles

Terrified of Eliot Spitzer, “heavy hitters on Wall Street have abandoned their ambitious plan to inject millions of dollars into the race for city comptroller to help elect Scott Stringer,” the New York Post reports.

“Forward NY was supposed to raise huge sums — up to $150,000 per individual — from corporate executives who abhor Spitzer for targeting them and their industry when he was state attorney general. As it turns out, they fear Spitzer more than they hate him.”

Congressman’s Nomination Held Up

“When the Senate left town for the August recess, senators confirmed nominees for an assortment of posts ranging from Amtrak board member to ambassador to the Vatican. But one member of Congress’ military promotion was left in limbo,” Roll Call reports.

“Army Reserve Col. Joe Heck is up for what appears to be a routine promotion to be a brigadier general. But no seems to be able to say why Heck, who is known on the House floor as ‘the gentleman from Nevada,’ has been stopped in his tracks.”

“The GOP congressman’s nomination is apparently being held up by something or someone, given that it has been languishing on the Senate calendar since May. The reasons for the delay could involve the constitutionality of promoting a lawmaker to the rank of general, or they could simply be related to Pentagon policy.”