Obama To Address American People On Syria Tuesday

The president promises to make a direct case for war to a skeptical public. Obama calls congressional debate over Syria “a heavy lift” for the White House.

Ria Novosti / Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Obama will make his case for military strikes on Syria directly to the American people next week.

At a press conference at the Group of 20 economic summit in Russia Friday, Obama promised to make an address back home in Washington Tuesday.

“I intend to address the American people from the White House on Tuesday,” Obama said.

The promise comes amid widespread criticism from Congress about the administration’s sales job on Syria so far. Members of Congress have said Obama should have made a prime-time public address before asking them to sign on to the war with an authorization.

Obama said his speech will focus on alleviating American concerns about mission creep in Syria.

“For the American people at least, the concern really has to do with understanding what we’re describing here would be limited and proportionate and designed to address this problem of chemical weapons use in upholding a norm that helps keep all of us safe,” Obama said. “And that is going to be the case that I try to make not just to Congress but the American people over the coming days.”

Obama acknowledged his push for a strike authorization in Congress has been a tough sell on Capitol Hill, just as his call for military engagement with Syria has been met with public skepticism, according to public polling.

“I knew this was going to be a heavy lift. I said that on Saturday when I said we’re going to take it to Congress,” Obama said. “You know, our polling operations are pretty good. I tend to have a pretty good sense of what current popular opinion is.”

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