(CNN) – Sen. Jeff Sessions – a Republican who has yet to say whether he'll approve President Barack Obama's plan for military strikes in Syria – said at a town hall Friday that the situation in the conflict-torn nation would be far different if George W. Bush was still in the White House.
Speaking to tea party activists outside Montgomery, Sessions said Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad would have heeded calls from the former Republican commander-in-chief to not use chemical weapons on his people.
"If President Bush had told Bashar Assad, 'You don't use chemical weapons or you are going to be sorry. We are coming after you, this will be a consequence you will not want to bear,' I don't believe he would have used them," Sessions said, adding that he didn't "mean to be partisan about it."
Obama and administration officials say samples from Syria prove Assad used chemical weapons on August 21, killing more than 1,400 people. He's been pressing lawmakers to support his plan for missile strikes to punish Assad's regime for the attack, though members of both parties have expressed deep skepticism at the plan.
Sessions said on Friday, however, that the administration was exaggerating the potential consequences of not taking action against Assad.
"(Secretary of State John Kerry) overstated a number of things," he said. "First he says we have got to respond basically any time anybody violates some treaty and we have got to go to war and use some military action. That is not so. He basically said you have got to support us or the country will be damaged and I don't agree with that."
Sessions did not say for sure what his vote would be on authorizing the use of force in Syria.
McCain gets an earful from voters on Syria
Tea party members attending the event appeared torn on American intervention in Syria, though most were wary about getting involved in another conflict overseas. One woman, who said she was a nurse who'd been trained in responding to chemical incidents, said she was doubtful that missile strikes alone could be an effective enough way to prevent another sarin attack.
"We put missiles in there, it's not going to do anything. Boots are going to be on the ground," she said.
The Real Tom Paine
You are proud of the fact that Bush negotiated a deal with Quadaffi,
he cut zero deals with gaddafi but of course you know that but lie to deceive people. gaddafi willingly and eagerly surrendered all his wmd. i guess bush should have told him to keep them? you lefties refuse to acknowledge any of the good that came out of the iraq war. gaddafi surrendering his wmd was one big plus especially now that obama has handed the country over to al queada.
conveniently blotting out the parts about where we made deals with devils that Bush left the Mideast in flames.
what middle east countries were in flames when bush left office? libya? no, cooperating with us on al queada intelligence. egypt?? no, they were an ally not controlled by the muslim brotherhood. syria? no, no uprising happening when bush left office. please enough with your obvious lies. obama has done everything in his power to destabilze the middle east and he has succeeded so well that the entire region is posed to meltdown. now he looks for approval to throw our missiles into the mess and really get it flaming to the max.
So, its a deliberate plan to destabilize the Middle East? To what end? Oh, is this the part where you say its part of an elaborate scheme to force the US to adopt green energy ( you were on here laying that out yesterday). The Iraq invasion created a massive release of trained, motivated jihadists into other countries. Did we, at any point, attempt to leverage our relationships to improve their human rights records with these countries? Nope. All you cared about was cheap oil. The Egyptian people threw Mubarek out, and the Muslim Brotherhood was elected with a bare majority, a majority that has been rendered moot by the military coup. It floors me that anyone could find the mass murderer of hundred of American preferable to the people that got rid of him: as I recall, you kept screaming then about slippery slopes. The Arab Spring began when Bush was happily back in Texas, painting pictures fo his dogs, but the legacy of his lousy policies lives on in the hatred they have for us propping up one horrible dictator after another, and all because Halliburton had to have its no-bid contracts. Quit ignoring the sleazy past of the GOP in the Middle East, and accept the fact that your lot don't know what they are doing, and they never have. Your arrogance is beyond belief.