WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama, seeking a congressional endorsement for U.S. military intervention in civil war-wracked Syria, is inviting two leading Capitol Hill foreign policy hawks to the White House in efforts to sell the idea to a nation deeply scarred by more than a decade of war.
Having announced over the weekend that he'll seek congressional approval for military strikes against the Assad regime, the Obama administration is now trying to rally support among Americans and persuade members of Congress with an array of views on Syria.
Sen. John McCain, Obama's White House opponent in 2008, will be joined for the talks later Monday by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who like McCain has argued that Obama must not only punish the Syrian regime with surgical missile strikes but must seek to change the course of the civil war and oust President Bashar Assad from power.
Obama has said he wants limited military action to respond to an attack in the Damascus suburbs last month that the U.S. says included sarin gas and killed at least 1,429 civilians, more than 400 of whom were children.
McCain and Graham, both Republicans, represent the most aggressive faction in Congress and have called on Obama to launch more comprehensive strikes with an aim of destroying President Bashar Assad's air power, his military command and control, Syria's ballistic missiles, and other military targets while at the same time increasing training and arming of opposition forces.