Asked whether the United States was prepared to follow France in formally recognizing a Syrian opposition group seeking the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad, President Obama offered no pledge. 

"I'm encouraged to see that the Syrian opposition created an umbrella group that may have more cohesion," Obama said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has sharply criticized the Syrian National Council, saying the group wasn't up to the job or sufficiently representative and didn't have enough credibility among activists inside the country.

The State Department has since helped a separate group get organized -- and that is the umbrella group that Obama mentioned. "We're not yet prepared to recognize them as some sort of government in exile," Obama said.