The eight important quotes from Obama’s Syria interviews

September 9, 2013

President Obama granted interviews with six TV news outlets on Monday.

For those that didn't get to (or want to) watch all six, we've distilled the eight most news-worthy things he said.

On Russia's proposal for Syria to turn over chemical weapons to international monitors (Fox News):

"This is something that is not new. I’ve been discussing this with President Putin for some time now.”

On whether military strikes would be on hold if Syria surrendered its chemical weapons (ABC):

"Absolutely — if in fact that happened. ... If we can do that without a military strike, that is overwhelmingly my preference."

On whether that would be the end of it (CNN):

"It does not solve the broader political situation. I would say to Mr. Assad, we need a political settlement so that you're not slaughtering your own people, uh, and, by the way, encouraging some elements of the opposition to engage in some terrible behavior, as well."

On the vote in Congress (NBC):

“I wouldn't say I’m confident. I'm confident that the members of Congress are taking this issue very seriously and — and they’re doing their homework and I appreciate that.”

On whether he would act without Congress (NBC):

“I think it’s fair to say that I haven’t decided.”

On why Congress matters (ABC):

"Strikes may be less effective if I don't have congressional support and if the American people don't recognize why we're doing this. ... My hope would be that I can persuade Congress (and) the American people."

On Secretary of State John Kerry's statement that military action would be "unbelievably small" (NBC):

“The U.S. does not do pinpricks. Our military is the greatest the world has ever known. And when we take even limited strikes, it has an impact on a country like Syria.”

On his family's feelings about Syria (PBS):

"If you talk to my own family members — or Michelle’s — you know, they’re very wary and suspicious of any action."

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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