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Posted at 04:06 PM ET, 03/25/2011

Obama holds conference call on Libya with congressional leaders

President Obama held a conference call with leaders of Congress in both parties Friday afternoon as his administration tries to reduce tensions with lawmakers who dislike his Libya policy or feel Congress was not sufficiently consulted before he deployed the U.S. military.

White House officials did not immediately release the list of lawmakers whom Obama spoke to. But it is his first formal outreach to Capitol Hill since the U.S. joined an international coalition to stop the Libyan government forces from killing civilians there last weekend.

Congress is out of session, so the meeting could not be held in person. But a group of top officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, will meet with members of Congress in person next Wednesday at a closed-door session.

Obama largely stayed out of public view on Friday, and administration officials did not indicate when he would next speak publicly on Libya.

Clinton announced Thursday the U.S. would soon shift to a support role in maintaining a no-fly zone in Libya, as Obama had pledged. But he still faces a bipartisan group of critics from Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), a longtime ally of the president on foreign policy issues, to Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio.)

By Perry Bacon Jr.  |  04:06 PM ET, 03/25/2011

 
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