Obama Doesn't Win Over Congressional Black Caucus After Lobbying Meeting
Yesterday, President Obama "dropped by" a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus to rally Syria support, but the chairwoman of the caucus said this morning that she's still undecided.
"This afternoon, President Obama dropped by a meeting National Security Advisor Susan Rice was having with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the Roosevelt Room to discuss the situation in Syria," the White House told reporters Monday. "The President spent about an hour in the meeting."
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver's (D-Mo.) response was, "Everyone in the room wanted to say, we are with you, but simply could not."
Chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) this morning on CNN called the Russia offer regarding Syria's chemical weapons "outstanding."
"I do believe that if there is some way we can find a diplomatic way to address the atrocities in Syria, I think that we should move forward with all due speed to make sure it is something that is credible and I think that we should engage with this kind of a discussion," Fudge said. "I don't know that I trust any of them, but that doesn't mean that this is not something that is not going to happen. I think that we really do want to do is make sure that we take chemical weapons away from Syrians and I do as well believe that because of the threats that have come from the United States, that Russia and Syria both understand that there needs to be some action. So, I'm hopeful, certainly, that this is something that is going to move forward."
Fudge said she hadn't polled CBC members on their votes. "Every member is going to make their own decision, so I really don't have that answer. I don't think anyone has that answer," she said.
"...Whatever happens in Congress, I can't call it. But I would say to you that if, in fact, this situation does work itself out in a nonmilitary way, I think it's a benefit for the entire world, not just for the United States."
She added that Obama needs to make a case to the American people tonight.
"We do have responsibility as members of Congress, but as well we have constituencies who have been very vocal about their opinion. So, I think it's important for him to make the case to the American public, why this action needs to happen. And I think that if he does that, I think he has a very good shot at getting the support in Congress. If he doesn't, I think it's going to be a very difficult road ahead," Fudge said.
"I am a member of the U.S. Congress. I have a constituency just as every other member here. He is the president of the United States, just as there have been other presidents. We make decisions based upon what we think is best for the country, we make decisions what we believe is best for our constituents. We do not make a decision based upon who is in the White House."