September 8th, 2013
10:04 AM ET
10 years ago

Dem rep. says Obama should 'withdraw' authorization request

(CNN) – The president should cancel his request for Congress to approve U.S. military strikes in Syria, Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern said Sunday.

"If I were the president, I would withdraw my request for the authorization at this particular point," the congressman from Massachusetts said on CNN's "State of the Union." "I don't believe the support is there in Congress."

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McGovern argued people tend to view war "as a last resort," and he disagreed with the notion that "we're at that point."

"I would step back a little bit. We have some other issues we have to deal with in Congress, domestic and international," McGovern told CNN's chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley. "But I think at this point if he were asking for my advice, I'd say withdraw the authorization."

Following President Barack Obama's announcement last weekend that he would seek congressional input on taking military action in Syria, he was applauded by many Republicans and Democrats for including Congress in the decision.

The president hasn't said whether or not he would go forward with a strike should Congress vote against his proposal, but White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said the president has the right to make the final call.

"The president ultimately is going to make this decision in consultation with Congress on our timeline, as best suits our interests," McDonough said Sunday on "State of the Union."

As of Sunday morning, McGovern was one of 123 members of the House who have said they plan to vote "no" on the authorization, while 24 plan to vote "yes," and a majority are still "undecided," according to CNN's latest count.

McGovern argued he's a "a big supporter of President Obama's" and supports him "on almost everything," but said "sometimes friends can disagree."

"This is not a question about party loyalty. This is a question for all of us about what is right. This is a vote of conscience," he said.

The congressman said he was most troubled by what he described as a lack of alternative proposals by the international community.

"We're being told there are two choices: Do nothing or bomb Syria. Clearly there have to be some other choices in between. We ought to explore them," he said.

- CNN's Dan Merica contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Congress • President Obama • Syria • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Colorbar

    It took the British about 3 days to debate this issue, put it up for a vote (where it was turned down as we all know) and put it to rest accordingly.
    The US is already talking about this for TWO weeks now, with no resolution in sight. We don't even have a vote from the Senate yet, despite of the fact that the Senate was NOT vacationing.
    And we wonder why this country as become so incredibly inefficient?

    September 8, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    It's not a suprise that the GOP would support asseds right to gas his own children by trying to block the president from taking action to save children from being gased by the muderer assed.cruz was on tv today trying to make his case backing the right of assed to gas his own children just to go against the president as usual. And you think you and the rest of the GOP are going to keep the house???? Teaparty GOP moron and a Canadian, not even American!!!!!

    September 8, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. Sandy C

    Obama was elected partly on anti war pledge. Guess the Military Industrial Complex bought the Pres too! Can i have my vote back please?

    September 8, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. rs

    Perhaps so. Actions have consequences as they say. The disastrous military adventures of Mr. Donald Rumsfled, Dick Cheney and George Bush have left the American populace weary of war- regardless of the scope or reason. So to, does the complete lack of coherency on the part of the GOP for having a foreign or domestic policy that makes any sense at all.

    Colorbar called it. The British looked at the data, weighed their options and elected to sit this out. We can too. Yes, there are "consequences" to those actions (most of which were outlined in the hearings last week) but either they don't really worry anyone. Politically, the spineless and policy-less GOP, and the public have done the same thing the British have done.
    The trick will be will the GOP say not intervening was the right thing to do, and stick with that, or will they accuse the President of "leading from behind" (whatever the hell that means) again? They need to pick a consistent policy- and stick with it.

    September 8, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  5. Tom Riddle

    "It's better to do something dumb in a hurry than to wait"

    September 8, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  6. Name Uche Agonsi

    'Vote of conscience'....... You can take that to the bank. Thanks McGovern. These have been the most soothing words i have heard since the Syria Strikes issue.

    September 8, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. Minnie Mouse

    President Obama does need to withdrawal the request for a limited strike into Syria. He does not have the support from the government, the American people and has little support from surrounding countries. The word limited means just that. You do not know now how long something is going to take, and if it is not long under the terms "limited" then it becomes long term. In the event that this escalates into long term, then the country will have a war on it hands distributed with countries all around us. This is something that our country cannot financially support and we cannot afford to loose anymore lives from the military families of our country.

    Our problem is America and America has enough problems that our government at the current state of our country, can not control. Men, women and children are dying everyday through constant gun violence. We are doing nothing to protect these innocent, men, women and children. Why on Gods earth, do you feel that you can be of assistance to another country when you can't even control our own country.

    Your priorities are America and you have 100% gotten your priorities backwards! We do not need to be involved at all with Syria. Yes, it is wrong what they did but it is also wrong for what is being done in our country as well by means of gun violence ect.. If you want to start punishing people and make things better for any country then it needs to be America and not Syria. This is exactly where our government and military needs to be taking action. In our own country by protecting and service us all.

    September 8, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. mn

    Withdraw!!! The American people don't want this!! This is bul@&shi!!! Obama, I voted for you and I consider myselfy to be unequivocally Democrat but this will be the last straw! I have served my country for over ten years! Listen to the people!!!! We are tired of this!!!

    September 8, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Vote and let the chips fall. And when Assad does this again...? We can say that we stood by and did nothing...? Or... We can say that we at least tried...?

    At least we can blame someone else!!

    September 8, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. DJSanDiego

    Build Palestine First...... and Peace in the middle East will Follow.....The Obama Legacy has been Held Hostage and this Beltway Cabinet Goose steps to a chosen Drummer...will it take a warren commission to reveal who was pulling the strings in this White House?....Only a few months remain to write History Mr. President.....

    September 8, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. Anthony

    Even if Obama withdraws the request, Congress should still vote. This has gone to far and given that Obama and Kerry have said a Congressional vote is not necessary, I fear Obama will just say that he has to act in the face of Congressional inaction.

    Vote and Vote No.

    September 8, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. CT Patriot

    If the vote in Congress fails, Obama's presidency stops at that point. Why are we going to waste billions of dollars in a region where the people want to kill each other. Have we not learned from Iraq or Afghanistan?

    If this doesn't stop Obama, his namesake program, Obamacare will.

    September 8, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. Martha

    Unfortunately your President has become a dithering fool , the world has seen no leadership and lost respect and trust in him.

    September 8, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    This has to be the worst congress on record with a totally incompetent teaparty GOP that supports assed gassing of children over the president of the USA . Cruz said af much today on national tv.and the GOP thinks their going to keep the house, ha!!!!

    September 8, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. SW

    Why is the president blaming the attack on Assad and trying to strike him? The Free Syrian Rebel Army stood up and took full responsibility for the accident that occurred. The Rebels also announced that the weapons were given to them by Al-Qaeda, our enemy need I remind you. If we declare a strike on Assad we are doing nothing against the ones who take responsibility for the attack. If we do not fight against or enemy, we are fighting for them.

    September 8, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  16. owl905

    No, it's already on the table. There's no letting Congress wiggle out of it. If the Congress refuses to give its support, the President will listen and stand down.
    And Assad will have successfully committed an atrocity. He'll do it again because he's desperate. The refugee flood will grow until it can't be fed or housed. The world is going to watch the people of Syria go on dying in the most horrible ways imaginable.

    September 8, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    I am so proud! The American public is getting informed, can think for themselves, and form right conclusions for the first time after years of being fooled by politicians, propaganda by radio broadcastings, TV news, etc....

    September 8, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. Wisdom

    We're attacking Syria over an oil deal not to spread democracy. America has become full of herself and war mongers, and it's only a matter of time before a bully get's beat up, and this is going to happen soon. This is not going to be a surgical strike, but a war involving many countries and all because of Prince Bandar Bin Sultan basically George Bush of the Middle East.

    Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria
    Saudi Arabia has secretly offered Russia a sweeping deal to control the global oil market and safeguard Russia’s gas contracts, if the Kremlin backs away from the Assad regime in Syria.

    September 8, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  19. Ljw

    Very sadly, we don't trust what our government is saying anymore. We cannot bomb Syria just for saving face of the current administration.

    September 8, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. Thomas

    Give the President the support and power to use a big stick , he will use it only if all else fails.

    September 8, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. w l jones

    There no rush Syria is not going anywhere anyplace not not yet so get all the fact before a move.

    September 8, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |