good evening, everyone. i'm john siegenthaler in new york, welcome to al jazeera and our special coverage of the crisis in syria. >> we don't want just a stalling or delaying tactic. >> president obama responds to a potential diplomatic solution to the crisis. and syrian president remains defiant. ♪ >> we are following several important developments tonight regarding syria.
on capitol hill senator are speaking out about whether to authorize strikes on chemical weapons in syria. members of the house heard from the secretary of state behind closed doors, he wants congress to hold syria accountable. as congress considers the options, newly released polls show the u.s. strike against syria is losing ground, but russia has offered up an 11th u.s. military action. and syria is demanding the u.s. prove its chemical weapons acquisition. but we begin with president obama tonight. mike viqueira joins us from the white house. mike? >> they call it the bully pulpit and wih good reason. the president did a round robin interview today. he laid out his case. many of the themes and points we are likely to hear in that
address tomorrow night, we understand it will be the east room. but everything on hold at the time being, john. that after the russian foreign minister put forward the proposal after meeting bilaterally with the syrian prime minister to gather up these chemical weapons, gather them and destroy them. the president reacted to that today, and told everyone that the congressional vote process is going to be on hold until this gets ironed out. >> i don't anticipate that you would see a succession of votes this week or any time in the immediate future, and so i think there will be time during the course of the debates here in the united states for the international community to work with us, to see if there is a
p>> cbs aired an interview with assad. he said if a military strike were to go forward, he said, quote, expect everything in retaliati retaliation. >> assad doesn't have a lot of capability. he has capability relative to children. he has capability relative to a -- an opposition that is still getting it's a organized and are not professional trained fighters. he doesn't have a credible means to threaten the united states. his allies, iran and hezbollah, could potential engage in asemimat try call strikes against us, but the kind of threat they would pose against us are typical with the kinds of
threats we are dealing with around the world, which are embassies being threatened, u.s. personnel in the region. those are threats that we deal with on an ongoing basis. >> and john the president says he is not taking his foot off of the gas. there have been dinner, and closed door briefings. the president makes a relativel% rare trip to capitol hill tomorrow, and all day long, john, we saw a consistent stream, a parade, really of house members coming in for their briefing. but what we do know at this hour is it is all on hold. they don't want that members to walk on a vote they really didn't want to take to begin with. >> what else can the president say tomorrow night? >> well, he has very high confidence is the phrase we have heard, that not only chemical weapons were deployed but the
assad regime is responsible for that. he'll talk about the example that needs to be said not only for the assad regime but for other actors. so the one thing that is different, john, really is this will be a prime time audience. you see the white house embarking on this strategy, quite apparent. they are trying to reach as many voters as they possibly can to try to turn the tide. >> all right. mike, thank you very much. as mike mentioned very much, al jazeera america will cover the president's address live tomorrow night at 9:00. following the speech there will be a live townhall meeting. we have paul covering the senate debate, but first let's go to
libby casey. what are you hearing after the briefing, libby? >> there are two potential game changers in place. they are hearing a lot of the same words from the obama administration, so as members filtered out, they didn't have a lot new to say, what they did say was they are going to wait and see looking at this deal that the russians are trying to craft. if you think of this as a hot potato, the president tossed it into the lap of congress, congress might get a chance to toss it away if a diplomatic incentive could be reached. so everything could change. one important member to watch a democrat of washington state who is a top democrat on armed services, said he will consider all of the information but he is
not committing to anything just yet. >> there are still questions about this hold, about how we're going to hold assad accountable. what the plan is going forward after a strike, how little impact syria? >> the question is how will a member of congress like that bode? my colleague has been covering the other side of capitol hill paul? >> libby, thank you. that's right. as you said, hot potato. this is a vote that nobody on capitol hill wanted. as you mentioned those poll numbers, americans being less supportive of a strike in syria. but harry reid said a vote was
on track for wednesday, but over the course of the day you could feel momentum build as this proposal came out of russia. >> we have tried diplomacy. we have gone to the united nations on many occasions, and time. notwithstanding russia's belated offer today to take action, which may only be on the table specifically, specifically because of the threat of the use of force -- >> senator robert menendez there. chair of the committee that offers up the use of military force, really giving the white house credit to bring russia and syria to this point. >> paul, since russia has made this proposal, most of the
congress and senator would just as soon vote on this at all? >> as you know, senator reid saad no vote before thursday. and president obama says he doesn't expect anything to happen this week, so this may be the escape valve that everybody was looking for. >> and that's what they are talk about tonight in the halls of congress, correct? >> correct. that's expectly right. >> yes, give me an idea what would happen, how long we would have to wait. >> i think with senator reid saying no vote before thursday, again, it's going to depend on the back and forth to russia. the international body that would oversee the gathering and destruction of this process.
and this gives everybody a chance to catch their breath. and senator reid originally promising a final vote on the measure before the end of the week. >> all right. paul thank you very much. joining us now is john garamendy, sorry for me mispronunciation. >> not a problem. >> give me a sense of what you did you heard anything new? >> i heard a lot. really the most important thing is what you were just talking about and that is this russian overture. this is really, really important. it really gives peace a chance, and not only to avoid this aerican attack, but it also gives the country and the people and the region an opportunity -- let's be very hopeful here, an opportunity for
those chemical weapons to be contained, to be secured, and eventually disposed of. this is really the path we have got to travel. >> let me just push back a little bit on you here. >> sure. >> i understand the whole idea is to get rid of the chemical weapons, but someone and possibly the president of syria used chemical weapons against those people, shouldn't there be some retaliation for that? >> the real good retaliation is to deny him future chemical weapons. this is really an opportunity -- yes, it was horrible. yes, it was absolutely terrible, criminal, all of those things, but where do we go from here? what are the next steps? what does the future hold? the future may hold a syria with no chemical weapons. that's great for syria. the civil war could be negotiated as a result of this.
this is a may -- major opportunity to make it happen. >> and no punishment for assad? >> i didn't say that. i said we have to take this opportunity to get rid of those chemical weapons. the civil war may get settled with negotiations, but it may continue on in the bloody way it has over the last several years, but put the chemical weapons aside, and that denies him of these weapons he has used perhaps a dozen times, and he won't have that available to him. and that is good for the syrian people. >> so russia has given the unted states a way out you would say? >> i would say russia has made a very, very good and important overture, and we should recognize that, and the united states, together with russia, the eu, and the entire
world ought to say let's move with this. let's make this happen. i understand that the united nation's leader jumped on that and said that's good. lets move with this. and the rest of the world should say the same thing, because this may be a very important opportunity to get out of the way these chemical weapons. we know there have been other countries in the middle east that had them. to get serious chemical weapons out of the way, that's good for the entire region. good for russia, congratulations. thank you for doing so. let's move with it. i understand our president has said let's move with this. >> we'll be watching. thank you very much, we appreciate. >> thank you. >> syria's president said if president obama strikes syria, he will only be helping al
qaeda. assad denied his regime launched a chemical weapon's attack. >> our police, our institutions, do't exist, how can you talk about what happened if you don't vef dense. we're not like the american administration. we're not social media administration, our government. this war is against the interests of the united states. why? because [ inaudible ] this war is going to support al qaeda and the same people that kill americans in the 11th of september. >> joining us now is ambassador to syria, former ambassador to syria, he served in the country when assad's father was president, ambassador, welcome. it's good to see you. >> good to see you. good to be with you. >> you can hear me. >> yes, i can.
>> terrific. give me your reaction to the russian proposal. >> well, it's a game changer on the eve of the administration making an all-out effort to justify a limited military strike because of the use of chemical weapons in syria, all of a sudden this diplomatic initiative brings a pause button into play to determine whether it's verifiable, whether it's real, whether it can be carried out in an effective manner and under international supervision. if all of that occurred, i think this is a very positive development, and i would hope it would be an example of a u.s./russian cooperation and collaboration over this incredibly difficult crisis in -- in syria. but, again, it should not be
this russian initiative -- should not become a formula for just dely and inaction. it would have to be structured in a way where forward movement on dismantling syria's chemical weapons and putting them under international supervision is verifiab verifiable, real, and done in a proper fashion. >> ambassador i don't understand how we can be sure this is not a delay tactic. >> well, we can't. and that's why we have to go into this with our eyes wide open. i think the fact that the united states made a preliminary decision to -- for the president to possibly opt for military action in syria because of the
cw issue, really focused the international community, and certainly focused the syrian regime, and focused russia on what the consequences of this would be, and therefore, the russians played a very important role in bringing this proposal forward. in my eyes, this is something only russia could have done because of its very special relationship with syria, which dates back to the 1950s, the close relationship between the soviet union and syria, but there are ways under international control to inspect, identify, verify, the storage and then the shipment and/or destruction of chemical weapons, but if the process is real, if -- if this is a real deal, this all can be done. >> well, we will have to see whether or not it is done.
ambassador it is good to talk to w you tonight. thank you for joining us. >> let's take a look at the chemical weapon's capability. jair is believed to have one of the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the middle east. the syrian government has more than a thousand tons in chemical agents. these chem sk-- chemicals inclu sarin and vx gas. and they are capable of using missiles of up to 300 miles. russia has come up with a diplomatic alternative. james bayes as the international
reaction. >> a flurry of responses was prompted by these comments. >> sure he can turn over all of his weapons to the international community in the next week, turn it over all of it without delay and allow a total accounting for that, but he isn't about to do it. >> the state department later said kerry's ultimatum was just a rhetorical flourish. but it was picked up by russia. >> translaor: john kerry made an announcement stating the attacks on syria could be avoided if damascus hands over all of his chemical weapons we don't know if syria will do that, but if they will, we'll work with them to achieve that.
>> reporter: and then this man reportedly welcomed the proposal, but it's far from clear whether that means the regime could agree. the next of event was in new york. >> i'm considring urging the security council to demand the immediate transport of syria's chemical weapons to places inside of syria, where they can be safely stored and destroyed. >> if syria says yes to transferring its stocks, how quickly can you, the un take control of those stocks? what is the time frame? >> i think that is the proper way for syria to do. agree to this proposals. then i'm sure that the
international community will have very swift action. plus syria must agree to this. >> the un secretary general makes it sound simple, but even if syria hands over its chemical weapons, there are still mayor hrdles ahead. no one knows exactly how many chemical weapons the assad regime possesses. the experience of un weapon's teams in iraq over a decade ago is also worth recalling. saddam hussein played cat and mouse with the un for years. there will be many who believe that assad might use the transfer of his chemical weapons as a storing tactic. james bays, al jazeera, of the united nations. and coming up next, former secretary of state weighs in on the crisis. >> as you know, this is a fluid
♪ hillary clinton has spoken out publicly on the crisis in syria for the first time since stepping down as secretary of state. she says if syria turns over its stockpile that would be an important step. but she was cautious as well. >> this cannot be another excuse for delay or obstruction. and russia has to support the
international community's efforts sincerely or be held to account. >> the opposition fighting syria's civil war is made up of a variety of groups with different backgrounds and goals. those include fighters linked to al qaeda. they have been keeping a low pro file lately waiting to see what the white house decides. >> reporter: these are the men the obama administration doesn't want to see in power, and they know it. and that's why they are maintaining a low profile. >> it seems that western powers have decided to also take advantage of this unique opportunity to destroy some of the rebel groups against whom they have a certain ambivalence. >> reporter: so far the u.s. has not said any of those groups would be targed but their
presence worry some in congress. u.s. secretary of state john kerry has put syria's fractured opposition into two camps, the good guys and the bad guys. basically that means groups linked to al qaeda, and brigades that fall under the supreme military council. this man heads the moderate opposition. the obama administration argues military intervention would help put his forces in a place of power. that may not be that easy. groups not allying with either side view such efforts with skepticism and feel the aim is to serve a western agenda. >> translator: any attack
against al qaeda and other groups will be considered an attack against us, because these people came to syria to help us. it is up to us to decide how to handle any group that is harming our country. >> reporter: they are a loose alliance. some blame the international community for failing to give the moderate forces the support they needed early on. >> these bad guys were allowed to take root, largely because foreign countres didn't move fast enough. >> clearly there are those who are suspicious of the obama administration's intentions, especially since u.s. officials say the objective of military action is not to bring down the regime or tip the balance enough for the bad guys to prevail. two state lawmakers in colorado are fighting to hold on to their seat. a look at the competing national
♪ >> welcome back to al jazeera, i'm john siegenthaler. here are the top stories. russia is offering an alternative solution to the syrian crisis. it's syrian's chemical weapons to be placed under international control and destroyed. the foreign minister approves the idea. john kerry said syria could avoid a situation if it turns over his chemical weapons by the end of the week. >> it's possible if it's real. and i think it's certainly a positive development when the russians and the syrians both make gestures towards dealing with these chemical weapons. >> president obama is calling the proposal a potential break through. during interviews with u.s. television networks today, the
president says he remains stepty call. according to the latest pugh research center poll, more americans say they don't want the u.s. involvd in syria. 28% of americans say they support a strike, down 1% from last week. 63% oppose the strike, up 48% from a week ago. now 9% weren't sure, and that's down 23% last week. the latest "washington post" poll and abc news poll have similar reports. more than twice as many oppose u.s. involvement. that's a 5% jump from last week. as the president and congress try to find consensus over a strike in syria, protesters are gathering to show lawmakers what they think about military ak shun.
diane what are the people saying at the chicago rally? >> well, john, i would say it's very peaceful and very somber here. we only a few blocks away from northwestern university. some of these people out here protesting are a little bit older. they protested the vietnam war and the war in iraq, and they are trying to send a very clear message to the u.s. congressional delegation, particularly the illinois congressional delegation, and here is what they have to say. >> i think the false dichotomy is there aren't any other solutions. we're either accepting the horrendous use of chem -- chemical weapons in syria or you have to go in and bomb them. >> my message is you can't solve
these problems with war. >> reporter: many of these people say they feel for the syrian people, but they don't want to see the united states involved in anoth involved involved in a military conflict. the illinois congressional delegation, especially here in the chicago area are pretty much flipped or undecided, so these people are hoping they with send at least a peaceful message to them to not get the united states involved in another military conflict. john? >> all right. diane, thanks very much. john kerry suggested that syria could avoid an attack all together by putting its chemical weapons under international control. barnaby phillips reports. >> reporter: the russians have called the american's blush, called john kerry's blush, picking up on the remarks that he made in london, effectively
taking the americans up on an offer that they never really mae. the president and the administration will be -- skrepty call of the approach. they will look at collecting and destroying chemical weapons in an atmosphere of zero trust. and the united nations have adopted the offer, which makes it difficult for the americans to simply ignore it. >> welcome professor it's good to see you. p>> tell me what you think of te proposal? >> i think it was a brilliant move by putin. he looks strong. he has done a favor for obama by
getting obama out of a jam, which i think he was maybe looking to do, because there were indications earlier in the summer that he wants a good relationship with obama. and he looks like the good guy in all of this. >> why would assad agree to this? >> it gets assad out of a jam too. if there is a way of assuring that there are not strikes on his territory. he doesn't need the chemical weapons to accomplish anything. >> and the united states talked about retaliation that you can't let a country get away with that. would the united states be letting him get away with that if they chose this russian proposal? >> no, i don't think so. because there are other ways to punish assad. i don't think it's the end of the story, but putin is a judo master, and i think this was a
judo move. you don't win in judo games by being the strongerplayer. you do it by having surprise attacks. >> the world went through with this iraq and saddam hussein and it was a delay tactic. >> yes, that's a real issue that very smart people are going to have to come together to solve. who secures the weapons, who is responsible for the okay of saying they are all taken care of. but i think it's an option of exploring a win-win for both sides. >> the president still has to put the pressure on or not? >> the pressure comes off, and either you agree to this or there is still a threat of military action having. >> would it be better if congress said if you don't live up to this then we will strike?
>> that might be one alternative. but something to keep in mind too is that putin is taking pressure off of the home court for this, because he had a bunch of mayoral elections today. >> it appears that the united states was on the verge of war a week ago, and now a potential solution. how did that happen? >> by accident it looks like, right? that's what everything appears to be. two off the cuff remarks, one that said it's a red line, oops i i'm not sure i meant it, and the other one -- >> it kind of bogles the mind that diplomats hadn't considered that. >> i think putin was waiting for an opportunity and he got it. >> you seem very upbeat about this? >> i think it has the potential
of solving the problem and drawing putin and obama together again. >> how does president obama come out of this if this happens? does he look strong politically? >> he embraces it as a solution that kerry proposed and that putin was willing to take up, and it's a good solution for evrybody. >> thank you for coming. >> happy to be here. stocks close sharply on monday. the dow finished up 140 points. best performance in two months. the s&p extending its longest winning streak since july. and the nasdaq rallying to its highest close since september of 2000. after three terms in office, new york voters are about to vote on a successor for mayor michael bloomberg. the campaign has been nasty. race and ethic politics threaten
to overshadow the primary, why the republicans square off in a traditional mud slinging match. >> reporter: it's election season in new york. [ applause ] >> the front runner in the polls among democrats is bill deblazio, who has built his campaign around criticism of michael bloomberg. he has been criticized for campaign ad featuring his mixed race son. >> bill will be a mayor for every new yorker no matter where they live or what they look >> the spotlight hasn't helped christine quinn. >> i'm not about finger pointing and complaining. i'm about getting things done. >> quinn would be the city's first openly gay mayor, but has fall tone third place in recent
polls. thompson has moved into second place. this year he has worked to win both the city's black and hispanic communities and plays up his strong ties to unions. trailing badly are current city comptroller john lou who has two campaign workers convicted in an illegal campaign fund raising scheme, and anthony weine weiner -- each can play the role of spoiler. >> you are fine -- we're glad you worked out your problems but stay out of the public eye. >> that's up to you to judge my friend. >> you are a bad example for the people. >> joe lota boasts of his backs from major giuliani.
his opponent has tried to turn that against him. $15 to cross a bridge? what was joe lotta thinking? >> it's the most open, most competitive race new york has seen in years, and during bloom beginning's term in office here at city hall, new york has changed. >> new york has become increasingly diverse. and so now we're seeing a new slate of issues and a slate of sort of stakeholders that we haven't seen in -- we haven't seen maintain as much voting power in the past. >> reporter: all of this seems to have failed to energize voters. turnout is expected to be light. only half of the voters are registered to vote in the primary. each candidate is hoping to get at least 40% of the votes. and now to colorado where the governor is warning against
any attempt to disrupt tomorrow's recall election. the recall involves two legislatures who voted in favor of strict gun-control laws. one of them john morse has been going door to door trying to win support from voters. after the shootings in aurora, colorado, and newtown, connecticut, they passed legislation that restricted run purchases and restricted magazine clips. >> i have worried as much as i can about being as good of leader as i can be, and not focusing on being a good politician, and that will get you into a recall, and i'm in support of that. >> this is the first time a colorado -- in colorado state history that elected lawmakers
are facing a recall. unions have been seeing a decline in membership in recent years, but california is bucking that trend. here is stephanie stanton. ♪ >> reporter: these recent labor marches for more pay and better working conditions understood score the strength of california's union. >> we embarked on a new way of doing things, a new of representing workers in los angeles. >> i'm going to continue to be our united of america. >> reporter: she is the executive secretary treasurer of the aflcio, while union membership across much of the country has been declining for decades, california's unions are strong and growing. she says one reason is union
recruits in the latino community. >> we found they really wanted to change their working conditions from low pay to sustainable jobs for themselves and their familiar list. >> reporter: in 2012 california add more than 100,000 union members. and leaders say many of their members are undocumented immigrants who managed to find work in spite of laws designed to prevent hiring them? 1999 union officials stopped asking their members about their legal status. manualel recently finished a study on immigration. >> immigrant workers have been the backbone of a growing labor movement in the state of california. >> today is a very special
day -- >> reporter: a move he says has become more politically motivated and politically focused. >> because of the lessons in california about how labor unions are partner to change the political playing field in a way that will be more favorable for union organizing and more favorable to community trust. >> reporter: they say in spite of political opposition to illegal immigration and unions, it's clear these workers are starting to emerge from the shadows. >> the fear is definitely something you live with us, and almost being ashamed of being who you are. >> it's fear every day to go out, to work without your documents. >> when they see we care about all of the things that impact their lives, then they trust us.
>> reporter: union leaders hope strength in numbers will lead to better lives for their members and their familiar list. it's time to head down to washington, d.c. joie what have you got tonight? >> coming up, we're going to take a look ahead to see what is behind the growing of marijuana. lawmakers on capitol hill will take up the issue tomorrow, even as some local communities have begun to see the business benefits of legalized marijuana. we'll see how entrepreneurs are thinking around nichol bag and head shops to develop new shops. >> initially it was very nerve-racking, when you tell your family, parents or friends, they immediately think you are a
drug dealer, and i'm the farther thing from it. >> we'll get the whole story tonight. and we'll take a look into a dark and disturbing issue facing a religious sect. >> we'll be watching joie, thank you. coming up next, jim harbaugh takes a shot at the packers, and discovering a masterpiece after being hidden away for decades.
>> well, ross is here with the sports headlines, and the 49ers are taking a shots at the packers. >> jim harbaugh as always been a tough guy. he had major issues with linebacker clay matthews. >> he is talk about launching, he is talk about a clothesline to the neck area, when a quarterback is 6 or 7 feet out of bounds, it was a -- he just got struck -- it's like i have seen this play before. i thought of [ inaudible ], you know? you all know who he is number 45 of the giants. back when that was legal, you know, he would stand there in the middle of the field, wait for receivers to cross, clothesline them, and their feet would fly up in the air and
their backs would hit the ground. and i was struck that's what i'm seeing here. and then joe staley jumps in, and, you know, locks him up, and then somehow joe stanley gets a personal foul called on him, where i looked at it with my own eyes, i could see, you know, two punches thrown, you know, to joe's head, and -- well, one punch and one open slap, which, you know, that was just a -- if you are going to go to the face, come with a -- come with some knuckles, you know? no an open slap. so i think that -- that -- that young man works very hard on being a tough guy. he'll have some -- he'll have some repairing to do to his image after the slap. >> can't slap. come in like harbaugh.
all right. the rookie quarterbacks pretty impressive for the jets and the bills. anita marks spoke earlier about that hot topic and her thoughts on week one. >> they were going up against the bills, and that's why everybody is freaking out. they anticipated the patriots to just annihilate the bills with the rookie quarterback. but tom brady, he lost welker, aaron hernandez is in jail, they didn't bring back brandon. tom brady is working with a totally new crew of weapons. and that patriot's office, that's a very intricate scheme. i think the patriots will be just fine this season.
>> elsewhere in the afc east what did you think of geno smith's debut? >> one thing i took away from that debut is confidence. he had just 42 seconds to march down the field and try to kick a field goal to win the game, and sure enough they did. but he had confidence, swagger. something that mark sanchez never brought to the jets. >> how much of a game changer is antoine bolden for the 49ers? >> i think he is huge. they were definitely missing antoine bolden in denver. one thing i know he brings to a team is veteran leadership, and also the chemistry, you saw that yesterday as well. colin kaepernick through for over 400 yards. the packers planned for that
read option offense, and the 49ers mixed it up. pick your poison against the 49ers team. it will be interesting to see how they progress, because they can do it all. >> reggie bush was he the best free agent signing in the nfl? >> i do believe he is. one thing about the detroit lions, they need somebody out of the backfield to be aggressive and present. jonathan best was the guy they were hoping to do that. but bringing in reggie bush allows them to do that. it opens things up for mega tron, calvin johnson, their tight end, so i believe the best pickup in free agency. i know the lions are a force to be reckoned with this season. >> thanks, anita.
>> ever in queens new york tonight, raphael has done it again. he has won the u.s. open. his 13th grandstand title. second since 2010. he has taken down the number one player in the world. the match was a marathon, john. three and a half hours, and it was just amazing. it was like a painting. [ laughter ] that was a good one, because we do have painting to talk about, a priceless painting in fact. it has been discovered in the attic in a home in europe. the painting was unveiled today. it was stored away for years because it was thought to have been painted by someone else, but new research techniques convinced art historians of its authenticity. they said it would likely be worth tens of millions of
>> welcome to al jazeera. i'm john siegenthaler. here are the headlines. congress has begun the debate on whether the united states should carry out military strikes against syria. senator harry reed delayed any vote until at least thursday. russia wants the syrian chemical weapons to be placed under international controls and destroyed. >> it's possible if it's real. and you know, i think it's certainly a positive development, when the russians and the