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President Obama’s Russia press conference: Live updates

President Obama is taking question from reporters at the G20 Summit in Russia, with an expected emphasis on the situation in Syria.

Stay tuned below for the latest updates.

Allegations from Mexico, Brazil

Obama met with Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on the sidelines of the G-20 summit to discuss allegations that the National Security Agency spied on their communications.

But Obama did not confirm the allegations, which were disclosed by local newspapers through information released by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

“I will look into these allegations, but part of the problem is we get this through the press and I have to go back and find out what’s going on,” Obama said. He added: “I don’t subscribe to all these newspapers. The NSA might.”

Obama reiterated that his administration is reviewing the NSA’s spying capabilities to see if it should create new limits on the agency’s ability to eavesdrop on phone calls and emails.

'I'm listening to Congress'

President Obama emphasized that his dialogue with Congress when it comes to Syria is a two-way street.

“I’m listening to Congress; I’m not just doing the talking,” he said.

'News cycle moves on'

Obama made the case that the world must act against Syria before the power of the images of the dead adults and children fades from memory.

“The images of those bodies can be forgotten. The news cycle moves on,” he said, adding that the only reason that Syria is the top news story is because his administration is pushing for action.

“If we were not asking for a response, this is not what everybody would be asking,” Obama said. “There would be some resolution proffered in the United Nations, the usual hocus pocus, but the world and the country would have moved on.”

Mission creep reports? 'Inaccurate'

President Obama said that reports about preparations for potential “mission creep” in Syria — i.e. United States involvement gradually growing — are “inaccurate.”

“That report is inaccurate,” Obama said, reinforcing that any action would be “limited.”

Here’s the New York Times report Obama was asked about:

 President Obama has directed the Pentagon to develop an expanded list of potential targets in Syria in response to intelligence suggesting that the government of President Bashar al-Assad has been moving troops and equipment used to employ chemical weapons while Congress debates whether to authorize military action.

Mr. Obama, officials said, is now determined to put more emphasis on the “degrade” part of what the administration has said is the goal of a military strike against Syria — to “deter and degrade” Mr. Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons. That means expanding beyond the 50 or so major sites that were part of the original target list developed with French forces before Mr. Obama delayed action on Saturday to seek Congressional approval of his plan.

For the first time, the administration is talking about using American and French aircraft to conduct strikes on specific targets, in addition to ship-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles. There is a renewed push to get other NATO forces involved.

The strikes would be aimed not at the chemical stockpiles themselves — risking a potential catastrophe — but rather the military units that have stored and prepared the chemical weapons and carried the attacks against Syrian rebels, as well as the headquarters overseeing the effort, and the rockets and artillery that have launched the attacks, military officials said Thursday.

What if Congress votes no?

After one of his top advisers said that Obama didn’t intend to strike Syria without Congress’s approval, Obama declined to elaborate on his intentions.

Obama said he didn’t want to speculate on what he would do if Congress doesn’t authorize the use of force.

Obama said Congress’s debate remains important, and he doesn’t view it as some kind of perfunctory step.

“I did not put this before Congress just as a political ploy, or as symbolism,” Obama said.

The White House has said Obama retains the constitutional right to act without Congress.

Iraq 'colors people's views'

Obama acknowledged that the U.S. experience in the Iraq war “colors people’s views” about his proposed strikes on Syria.

“That’s the prism through which a lot of people are analyzing the situation,” he said. “I understand the skepticism.”

Obama noted his record of being opposed to the war as a senator, but he emphasized that any U.S. military action in Syria would be “limited and proportional.”

Obama pokes international community

President Obama challenged the international community to join the U.S.-led effort to punish Syria President Bashar al-Assad’s regime over chemical weapon us.

“They always look to the United States. Why isn’t the United States doing something on this? The most powerful nation on earth,” Obama said. “But then the international community turns around when we are saying it’s time to take some responsibility and says, ‘Well, hold on a second, we’re not sure.’”

Running transcript of the press conference

Obama says chat with Putin 'constructive'

Obama said his meeting this morning with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was “candid and constructive.”

Obama said they did not discuss Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker who was granted temporary asylum in Russia..

“It was a candid and constructive conversation, which characterizes my relationship with him,” Obama said. “We discussed Syria, and that was primarily the topic of conversation. Mr. Snowden did not come up.”

Obama said he told Putin that he recognized the two didn’t see eye to eye on Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons, but that the two countries should still work together to try and resolve the conflict.

Obama: 'I was elected to end wars, not start 'em.'

A key takeaway quote that is likely to be repeated, as President Obama argued that he’s not looking for an excuse to get involved in the Syrian civil war:

“I was elected to end wars, not start ‘em.”

Obama hits United Nations 'paralysis'

President Obama said the world cannot wait on the United Nations, saying its Security Council is in a state of “paralysis.”

“Given Security Council paralysis on this issue, if we are serious about upholding a ban on chemical weapons, then an international response is required, and that will not come through a Security Council action,” Obama said.

White House will release list of countries supporting action

Obama said the White House is likely to release a list Friday evening of the number of countries that have offered to support military action in Syria.

The Obama Administration has emphasized that, despite Britain and Russia not getting involved, there remain a number of allies committed to retaliating against the Assad regime for its alleged use of chemical weapons.

Obama to address nation Tuesday on Syria

President Obama announced that he will make his case on military strikes on Syria during a speech to the American public on Tuesday from the White House.

“I’ll make the best case I can to the American people, as well as the international community,” Obama said in St. Petersburg, where he is attending the G-20 economic summit.

Obama has spoken to a small group of reporters in the Rose Garden and during a photo-op in the White House last week, but he has not delivered a lengthy address directly to the public.

“There is a growing recognition that the world cannot stand idly by,” Obama said.

Another conservative group opposes intervention

American Conservative Union head Al Cardenas makes his organization the latest conservative group to oppose intervention in Syria.

From his just-released statement:

“I oppose military intervention of any kind in the Syrian civil war at this time because such action would fail the ‘Reagan Test.’  It’s not in the vital interest of American national security.”

Obama adviser suggests no strike without Congress

A top adviser to President Obama appeared to suggest Friday that the United States won’t go into Syria without Congress’s approval, but the administration said the comments are much ado about nothing.

Expect Obama to be asked about this today:

President Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Tony Blinken, said in an interview Friday morning that it is not the Obama administration’s “intention” to use military action without the approval of Congress.

Later, the administration clarified that it still believes President Obama has the right to take action on Syria, even without Congress, and that Blinken’s comments should not be taken as an indication of what the president might do or not do.

In the interview on NPR, Blinken said it is ”neither [the president's] desire nor intention to use that authority, absent Congress backing him.”

The comment is notable because the administration has generally not entertained the idea that an authorization vote could fail — even as that appears increasingly likely that it will, especially in the House.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Blinken’s comments should not be over-analyzed.

“Tony was saying what we have been saying, just with a slightly different formulation. There is no change in our position,” Hayden said. “As the president has said, he has the authority to act, but his intention is to do so with the approval of the Congress. As he said in Sweden, he believes they will vote to authorize the use of military force. I’m not going to speculate on the president’s decision-making if they don’t approve; we think they will.”

Obama meets with Putin

President Obama had another brief meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin today on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.

Putin mentioned the encounter at his press conference Friday, and a White House official confirmed the meeting.

The White House canceled bilateral talks with Putin amid disagreements over how to handle the situation in Syria.

Putin also greeted Obama as he arrived at the summit earlier this week — a brief exchange that was seen as somewhat awkward. Just for yourself:

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