Politics

The Two-Way
10:07 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Boehner, Pelosi Unite Behind President On Syria

President Obama met with more than a dozen lawmakers, including House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, at the White House on Tuesday to press his case for a military strike in Syria.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 12:30 pm

President Obama's call for Congress to give him the go-ahead to strike targets in Syria has put House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on the same side of an important issue for one of the few times in recent years.

Calling Syrian President Bashar Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons "a barbarous act," Boehner emerged from a meeting at the White House to say he supports Obama's request.

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World
9:57 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Washington Group Aiding Syrian Opposition

While President Obama is trying to convince members of Congress that action is needed in Syria, one Washington-based group is already aiding opposition forces. Host Michel Martin talks with Dan Layman of the Syrian Opposition Group about their efforts to fund the Free Syrian Army.

The Two-Way
8:33 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Syria Resolution Will Hit Mark, Obama Predicts

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 9:25 am

The White House is working with congressional leaders to shape a resolution that authorizes the type of military action that would send a "clear message" to President Bashar Assad and cripple the Syrian leader's "capability to use chemical weapons not just now but in the future," President Obama said Tuesday.

Sitting with leaders from both major parties, the president also said he is confident lawmakers are "going to be able to come up with something that hits that mark."

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Politics
3:27 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Rep. Smith On Syria: What Is The Limitation Of U.S. Power?

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 8:54 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

Here's a simple reality of democracy. The president can ask people for support, and if they give it, he's stronger. But they can also say no. That's the reason that presidents have often launched military action without a formal vote in Congress.

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Politics
3:15 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Obama Meets With McCain, Graham About Syria Strikes

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 8:54 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

This morning, we're looking at how Members of Congress are responding to President Obama's call for military action in Syria.

INSKEEP: In fact, we can expect to hear many voices in that debate in the coming days on MORNING EDITION.

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Law
1:02 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Justice Department Tackles Quality Of Defense For The Poor

People wait in line outside the Supreme Court in February. In a landmark decision half a century ago, the justices guaranteed a lawyer for criminal defendants who are too poor to afford one.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 9:37 am

All over the country, lawyers who defend poor people in criminal cases have been sharing their stories about painful budget cuts. Some federal public defenders have shut their doors to new clients after big layoffs. And in many states, the public defense system has operated in crisis for years.

But an unprecedented recent court filing from the Justice Department has cheered the typically overburdened attorneys who represent the poor and could have dramatic implications for the representation of indigent defendants.

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Politics
1:31 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Syria Resolution Could Be A Hard Sell On Capitol Hill

From left, Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., Rep. Robert Scott, D-Va., and Rep. Brad Schneider, D- ll., walk to a closed members-only briefing on Syria on Sunday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 4:41 pm

Twenty-four hours after President Obama announced on Saturday that he'll wait for congressional authorization before launching strikes on Syria; members of Congress attended a classified briefing at the Capitol.

For days, most of the discontent among members of Congress has been about not being included in the deliberations on Syria, about not getting the chance to vote. Now that they've gotten their way, each member of Congress will have to go on the record.

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The Two-Way
7:29 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Kerry: Tests Indicate Sarin Used In Syria

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a statement about the use of chemical weapons in Syria at the Department of State last week.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 2:46 pm

Secretary of State John Kerry says that tests have shown evidence of Syria's use of the chemical agent sarin in an attack on the opposition last month that the White House has blamed on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

"I can share with you today that blood and hair samples that have come to us through an appropriate chain of custody from East Damascus, from first responders, it has tested positive for signatures of sarin," Kerry told CNN on Sunday.

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Politics
7:14 am
Sun September 1, 2013

What One GOP Congressman Would Do About Syria

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 8:08 am

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

We turn now to Republican congressman Tom McClintock, to hear from him about Syria. He represents California's 4th District. Congressman, thanks for joining us this morning.

CONGRESSMAN TOM MCCLINTOCK: It's my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

GOODWYN: Are you pleased that the president has decided to bring this matter to Congress?

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Politics
7:14 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Obama's Nod To Congress Could Be Smart Politics

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 9:23 am

Members of Congress have been arguing for a week that the president should seek their approval on a military response to Syria. Now that Obama has agreed, it may be a case of "careful what you wish for." Guest host Wade Goodwyn asks NPR political correspondent Mara Liasson what Congress might do.

Politics
7:14 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Congress Gets Its Say On Syria

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 1:54 pm

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

This morning, Secretary of State John Kerry said he has evidence that the Syrian regime used sarin gas. The evidence was found in blood and hair samples gathered by first responders, and is separate from that collected by U.N. inspectors. With us now to talk about the president's announcement yesterday is NPR's Congressional reporter, Ailsa Chang. Good morning, Ailsa.

AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: Good morning.

GOODWYN: OK. So, the president got the message. How loud have the cheers been from members of Congress?

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The Two-Way
6:42 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Syrian Media Declares 'Historic American Retreat'

Syrian refugees pass through the Turkish Cilvegozu gate border on Sunday.
Gregorio Borgia Associated Press

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 7:09 am

Syrian state media on Sunday reacted to President Obama's decision to ask Congress for authorization to strike President Bashar al-Assad's regime, calling the move the start of a U.S. retreat.

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Governing
3:21 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

Obama Asks Congress To Approve Action On Syria

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 8:06 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

It was a stunner today for pundits on the Potomac. President Obama announced in the Rose Garden that while he has the authority to unilaterally attack Syria for its use of chemical weapons, he won't use it. Only 24 hours after Secretary of State John Kerry made the case for military action, the president made the case for congressional approval.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

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Governing
3:21 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

Republican Who Asked For Congressional Say Gets His Wish

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 8:06 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Tom Cole is a U.S. congressman from Oklahoma. He's a Republican and has served in the Congress since 2003. Congressman Cole, thank you for being with us.

REPRESENTATIVE TOM COLE: Thank you.

LYDEN: Congressman, you signed a letter with more than 100 of your colleagues asking the president to consult with Congress before acting in Syria. Well, President Obama now says he will do exactly that. Are you happy with the president's approach?

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Governing
3:21 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

On Syria, How Might Congress Vote?

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 8:06 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

With us now to talk about congressional reaction to the president's announcement this afternoon is NPR's congressional reporter Ailsa Chang. Thanks for being with us.

AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: You're welcome. Good to be here.

LYDEN: So it seems the president has been listening to the rancor this week, Ailsa, from members of both parties. What's been the reaction from congressional leaders you've had a chance to speak to since the announcement?

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The Two-Way
1:08 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

Lawmakers Welcome President Asking For Their OK On Syria

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 2:10 pm

(This post last updated at 4:10 p.m. ET)

Lawmakers, many of whom had urged President Obama to seek authority from Congress before going ahead with a military strike against Syria, were largely positive about his decision to do just that.

The president, in a Rose Garden address on Saturday, said that the U.S. should respond militarily to Syria's Aug. 21 chemical attack that killed more than 1,400 people, but that he would first seek authorization from Congress.

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The U.S. Response To Syria
1:01 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

Read And Listen: President Obama Turns To Congress On Syria

President Obama speaks about Syria from the Rose Garden at the White House on Saturday.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 1:24 pm

  • Listen To President Obama's Full Speech
  • NPR Special Coverage Of Obama's Remarks

A transcript of President Obama's remarks on possible U.S. military action in Syria, as released by the White House:

Good afternoon, everybody. Ten days ago, the world watched in horror as men, women and children were massacred in Syria in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century. Yesterday the United States presented a powerful case that the Syrian government was responsible for this attack on its own people.

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The Two-Way
10:40 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Obama To Seek Congressional Approval For Action Against Syria

At the White House Saturday, President Obama said he would seek congressional approval before taking action in Syria.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 9:48 am

  • President Obama's Full Speech
  • NPR Special Coverage Of Obama's Speech

(Post updated at 10 p.m. ET)

President Obama said Saturday he had decided that the U.S. should take military action against Syria in response to its use of chemical weapons, but that he will seek a congressional authorization for the action that could come "tomorrow, or next week or one month from now."

Speaking from the Rose Garden, the president said he believed that he had the authority to act without Congress, but said, "I know the country will be stronger if we take this course."

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Middle East
5:57 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Does Obama Need Congressional Approval On Syria?

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 9:59 am

Nearly 200 members of Congress have signed letters insisting that the president submit plans for any military strike in Syria for authorization. Host Scott Simon talks with Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington, who has signed one of the letters.

Politics
5:57 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Conservatives Huddle At Strategy Meeting

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 9:59 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

While many Americans take time off this weekend, a group of conservative activists are meeting in Florida. Americans for Prosperity, a group that was founded by David and Charles Koch, is holding its annual summit in Orlando. That gathering includes several rising stars among conservatives - Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. But in terms of issues, NPR's Greg Allen reports, one seems to stand above all - stopping Obamacare.

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It's All Politics
10:21 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Newest War Veterans In Congress Troubled By Syria Prospects

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), who served a tour of duty in Iraq, is not convinced a military strike against Syria is the right thing to do.
Marc Levy AP

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 6:45 am

President Obama's contemplation of a military strike in Syria over its suspected use of chemical weapons has roused at least 170 members of Congress to question the constitutionality of such action, and others to urge caution informed by the quagmire of recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Few congressional voices, however, may be more resonant than those of the more than 100 military veterans in the House and Senate — particularly the 16 who served in the post-Sept. 11 conflicts in the Middle East, in both combat and non-combat roles.

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It's All Politics
5:33 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

6 Things To Keep In Mind As Obama Confronts Syria

President Obama pauses after answering questions from the news media during his meeting with Baltic leaders at the White House on Friday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 6:07 pm

As President Obama attempts to make good on his threats to punish Syrian officials for crossing a "red line" by allegedly using deadly chemical weapons, he's being buffeted by political crosscurrents.

Some arise from the structure of U.S. democracy itself, and the balance of powers between the branches. Others emerge from the nation's particular state of mind after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Here are six points to keep in mind as Obama considers how best to demonstrate American resolve to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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The Two-Way
12:22 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

What's Next In Syria? A Sampling Of Opinion

A Tomahawk cruise missile lifts off from the guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) in 2011. If a U.S. strike against Syria goes ahead, what comes next?
U.S. Navy Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 2:36 pm

As a U.S. military strike on Syria looks increasingly likely in the next few hours or days, various publications are weighing in on what such an attack would accomplish and what would happen next.

Here's a sampling of opinion:

The BBC's Tara McKelvey says:

"The US military would most likely use Tomahawk cruise missiles for an attack on the Syrian government forces. These missiles are now stored on destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean.

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Barbershop
10:22 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Does The NFL's Proposed Settlement Change The Game?

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 12:30 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Faith Matters
10:22 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Evangelicals' New Chief Says Days Of Moral Majority Over

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 12:30 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, you tell us more - editor Ammad Omar and I are going to dig in to the listener inbox to hear what you had to say about stories we've covered this week.

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Middle East
10:22 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Syrians Anxious About Worsening Humanitarian Crisis

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 12:30 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later this hour, a newsmaker interview with a man who's taken on one of the most prominent posts representing American evangelicals.

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Politics
2:46 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Key Members Of Congress Briefed On Syria Intelligence

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 7:51 am

President Obama is trying to convince Congress to get on board with his plans for Syria. Thursday night, some key members of Congress heard from top White House officials during a 90 minute phone call.

Politics
1:01 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Filner's Exit Isn't The End Of San Diego's Mayoral Mayhem

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announces his resignation last week. His last day in office is Friday.
Bill Wechter Getty Images

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 7:51 am

On Friday, the embattled mayor of San Diego officially steps down. Allegations of sexual harassment against Bob Filner have rocked the eighth-largest American city, which now has to pick up the pieces and elect a new mayor.

The announcement last week that Filner would leave office was greeted with cheers, boos and a flurry of activity from the press — but it all went quiet when the soon-to-be ex-mayor emerged from a swell of bodyguards to speak at the podium.

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Middle East
3:34 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Why Syria Is More Complicated Than Libya

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 5:23 pm

The Arab spring has brought large-scale protests and violence to at least half a dozen countries in the past three years. Until now, the U.S. has only intervened militarily in one of them — Libya.

Now, as President Obama considers a strike on Syria, here's a look at some of the differences between the two scenarios:

1. Syria's Not Standing Alone

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The Two-Way
1:53 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Federal Court Backs Calif. Ban On Conversion Therapy For Minors

A federal appeals court has reversed an injunction that kept California's law banning conversion therapy from taking effect. This composite image shows sate Sen. Ted Lieu, left, who introduced the original bill, and David Pickup, a marriage and family therapist who is a plaintiff in the suit against it.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

California's pioneering law that prohibits treating young gay people with psychotherapy in an attempt to change their sexual orientation has cleared a constitutional challenge in federal appeals court. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the ban does not violate essential rights.

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