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Slowing march to strikes, Obama seeks Syria vote


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McConnell: Seeking Congress’ authorization bolsters presidency

Washington » Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says the president’s role as commander in chief is strengthened when he has the support of lawmakers.

McConnell made the comment in a statement confirming President Barack Obama’s announcement that he had told congressional leaders he wanted to punish Syria for a chemical weapons attack but would first seek congressional approval.

Lawmakers had widely called for Obama to include Congress in the decision under the War Powers Act.

Obama made last-minute decision on Syria approval

Senior administration officials say President Barack Obama planned to take military action against Syria without congressional authorization, but told aides Friday night that he changed his mind.

Obama announced to the public Saturday that he wanted to launch a military strike, but that he first would seek approval from lawmakers.

The administration officials described a president overriding all his top national security advisers, who believed Obama had the authority to act on his own.

But these officials say the president spent much of the week wrestling with Congress’ role in authorizing force and made the decision Friday night after a lengthy discussion with his chief of staff, Denis McDonough.

The administration officials requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss Obama’s decision-making by name.

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