Dinner with GOP senators focused on potential U.S. action in Syria
September 9th, 2013
12:20 PM ET
7 months ago

Dinner with GOP senators focused on potential U.S. action in Syria

(CNN) – The dinner at Vice President Joe Biden's home Sunday night with Republican senators–which lasted from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET–was "serious and thoughtful," with discussions revolving around not only the unintended consequences of military strikes, but also the effectiveness of what the president intends to do, according to a source with knowledge of the dinner.

Biden told the dinner participants that the president had never been to the vice presidential residence before Sunday night, the source told CNN.

The president stayed at the dinner until about 8:15 p.m. ET.

Questions were also raised about why not wait for the United Nations report if a strike is not as time-sensitive as the White House claims. The extent of Russian outreach was also a topic of discussion.

In addition, questions were raised about the language of the Sen. John McCain's amendment, which was added to the bill passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week. That amendment by the Republican senator from Arizona said it is "the policy of the United States to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria." For some, that signaled more involvement in a civil war that no one wants to get involved in.

As for intelligence, this source made the case that those who have been privy to much of it have "no doubt" that the "regime was involved in the strikes." This source described it as the "delegated authority" of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, meaning it could have been any number of those involved in the chain of command, including his brother, generals, those who deal with chemical weapons, etc.

"It's murky who gave the exact order," the source said. "But it is not murky that it comes from the regime."

It also seems, from another source familiar with the vote counting, that the White House is going for what counts as a big vote these days–more than 61 in the Senate.

The question, another source added, is what would happen next. If the Senate was to approve the measure, and the House vote still looked a 'nay,' would the White House strike?

According to the White House, the guest list included Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska.


Filed under: Joe Biden • President Obama • Syria
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    In addition, questions were raised about the language of the Sen. John McCain's amendment, which was added to the bill passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week. That amendment by the Republican senator from Arizona said it is "the policy of the United States to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria."
    ------------------
    I don't like McCain's language in the amendment. Take it out, I say. It will only scare more people off, than it would encourage them to vote for the resolution.

    September 9, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Data Driven

    These Senators MAY support targeted strikes, but McCain's amendment about "changing the momentum on the battlefield" will quite simply have to be dropped. Drop that, and Obama MAY get the votes.

    September 9, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Syrian foreign minister welcomes Russia's proposal to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control.
    --------------------------
    This sounds promising. I've said from the start that Syria is more Russia's problem than it is ours. I guess someone next to Putin finally figured out that Assad was embolding Iran, and that having a nuclear Iran for a next door neighbor would not be such a good thing.

    September 9, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Silence DoGood

    Too many sound bites. Of course bombing will change the momentum. Time to face the reality and future dead people.

    Tell the relatives of dead innocents that it was all OK because of "momentum change" and no "boots on the ground" and no "political fallout".

    September 9, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. sonny chapman

    Many Dems. voted to Give W. authority to Go To War against Saddam to strengthen his hand in dealing w/the situation. Repubs. ought to give Obama the same respect. Put Country before Party.

    September 9, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. O'drama ya Mama

    Rudy NYC

    Syrian foreign minister welcomes Russia's proposal to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control.
    --------–
    This sounds promising. I've said from the start that Syria is more Russia's problem than it is ours. I guess someone next to Putin finally figured out that Assad was embolding Iran, and that having a nuclear Iran for a next door neighbor would not be such a good thing.
    September 9, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    So on point. The only problem with this is that if Russia finally steps up and handles this like they should have been from the start people (i.e. everyone who already hates Obama) will feel like this is an Obama defeat. If Obama never spoke up the international community might not even be at this point in terms of negotiations.

    September 9, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Silence DoGood

    @ voice of r3ason (cute, treason):
    "Stop trying to market a war".
    -----–
    Where, besides Faux, do you see us going to war with boots on the ground...
    -----–
    War does not equal "boots on the ground". Maybe you can explain to the widows and orphans in Pakistan that it was all OK because the Obama drone that fried their family did not have "boots".
    -------------------------------------------------
    I understand where you're coming from but it is still not us going to war against Syria.
    There will always be collateral damage when military action is taken, but this is not an open ended conflict between two factions, countries.

    September 9, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. Silence DoGood

    @ domincan mama
    @ voice of r3ason (cute, treason):
    "Stop trying to market a war".
    -––
    Where, besides Faux, do you see us going to war with boots on the ground...
    -––
    War does not equal "boots on the ground". Maybe you can explain to the widows and orphans in Pakistan that it was all OK because the Obama drone that fried their family did not have "boots".
    -----------------
    I understand where you're coming from but it is still not us going to war against Syria.
    There will always be collateral damage when military action is taken, but this is not an open ended conflict between two factions, countries.
    ----------------
    I cannot believe I am saying this to an apparent liberal but they are not "collateral damage" – they are dead people and children with crying relatives. Like has already happened in Pakistan by Obama's hand by the 1000's. And W before him in Iraq.
    We need to stop.

    September 9, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Put Country before Party.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Not while Obama is President.
    So sad.

    September 9, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. Anthony

    In case people don't notice, by seeking congressional authorization, Obama still has not fired a missile at Syria. The UN report on Syria's suspected chemical weapons attack will be coming soon. Syria is already talking about surrendering its chemical weapons.

    Contrast this with Iraq. Bush kicked out the UN inspectors, who did not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. After the deaths of more than 4,000 of our troops and untold number of Iraqis, the United States did not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq either.

    September 9, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Fair is Fair

    "I understand where you're coming from but it is still not us going to war against Syria."
    -------
    Sorry, I disagree. If a foreign country lobbed cruise missiles into OUR country, we would consider it an act of war. If we lob cruise missiles into another country, that is an act of war as well, declared or undeclared.

    September 9, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. Donna

    sonny chapman
    Many Dems. voted to Give W. authority to Go To War against Saddam to strengthen his hand in dealing w/the situation. Repubs. ought to give Obama the same respect. Put Country before Party.
    --

    Republicans ARE putting country before party and politics. There is no compelling national interest at stake in Syria. It is Obama, the Democrats and people like you that are trying to save face for Obama ahead of this country's national interest. A very large majority of the American people agree we should not attack Syria. Obama and his far left supporters want to attack Syria when there are other alternatives just to try and make sure Obama doesn't look weak. THAT is sad and pathetic.

    September 9, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |