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Dem rep. says Obama should 'withdraw' authorization request

MGN Online
Sunday, September 8, 2013 - 9:54am

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."

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.

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