tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC September 4, 2013 10:00am-11:01am PDT
right now on "andrea mitchell reports", in stockholm president obama is confronting them on the use of chemical weapons, a challenge for the world, not just the white house. >> i didn't set a red line, the world set a red line. the second draft happening now on the hill. meetings in both chambers to discuss the resolution to authorize u.s. led airstrikes. the house is limiting the president's authority. >> it is tailored, narrow in both scope and breadth to ensure that there are no american troops on the ground and it has a time limitation so at the same time giving the president the wherewithal to punish assad for the use of chemical weapons and to send a global message. i think it hits the sweet spot as best as possible. >> senator john mccain wants a more aggressive authority in the
new draft. >> without the provision for reversing the momentum on the battlefield, then conditions are not created for the departure of bashar assad. there is no policy without that. >> would the president act without congressional approval if that would happen? we'll ask white house deputy national security advisor, tony lincoln. and welcome back. two of our favorite jersey boys returned to their anchor chairs last night. we'll bring you the highlights. good day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. with congress still deeply divided over giving him a green light, president obama today said he retains the right to use
military force against syria despite asking for congressional support. >> as commander in chief, i always preserve the right and the responsibility to act on behalf of america's national security. i do not believe that i was required to take this to congress, but i did not take this to congress just because it's an empty exercise. >> tony lincoln is deputy national security advisor to president obama and joins me from the north lawn. well, he doesn't have to have it, but would he go without it? >> andrea, it's good to be with you. you know, after the incident on august 21st we spent a lot of time reaching out to congress and consulting with them. you heard lots of different opinions on what they thought needed to be done, but one thing was unanimous, virtually unanimous. they wanted their voice heard and votes counted. that's why the president thought it was important to seek their authorization. he thinks we're much stronger when we can act together. we're confident that congress
will support this action. >> the president said that he preserves the right to act. they have already limited it in terms of the time, but here you hear from john mccain on the senate side saying he wants a more aggressive rules of engagement, if you will. he really wants regime change with something that will change the balance of power on the battlefield. that's not what you're seeking. >> you know, andrea, two things are important here. one, we're seeing the emergence of very strong bipartisan support for this authorization. yesterday we had speaker boehner, leader cantore, nancy pelosi all come out in favor of taking action giving us this authorization. we have two very strong leaders in the senate in chairman menendez and ranking member corker, democrat and republican working together on this authorization. i'm sure that the senate and the house will be able to work out the appropriate language. that's one. second, what's important is this. we've had a strategy that we've had in place for some time to
expedite assad's departure through a political transition. there's no solution to an underlying conflict without a political transition. we're putting pressure on the regime. we're building up the opposition. we have a humanitarian program in place, over a billion dollars. we have a diplomatic track in place. as part of that though we've had this horrific attack on august 21st using chemical weapons violating a law that's been in place for nearly 120 years. that's what this is focused on. in the larger context we're working hard to get the transition and to move assad out. >> vladimir putin has talked to the associated press overnight and he said that he would consider military action in this case or in the case of syria but only with a u.n. mandate. the administration has said consistently that it is not going to wait for the u.n. because putin has been vetoing it in the security council.
how do you interpret putin's comments? >> well, andrea, we'd like nothing better than to have a u.n. mandate and the security council behind it, unfortunately repeatedly at every step along the way when we've gone to the u.n. about syria with far lesser requests than this one we've been stymied and blocked and the security council has been paralyzed. we sought to condemn various actions the syrian government has taken. each and every time we were blocked, so unfortunately that route appears to be closed. and as with kosovo and other instances in the past, there is tremendous legitimacy to taking action to enforce a norm that's been around for more than 100 -- nearly 100 years. a norm that our congress has stood behind very significantly in passing overwhelmingly the chemical weapons convention back in 1997, the syrian convention act in 2003. now they've actually used the
chemical weapons so we need to stand up for this in enforcing the norm and so does congress. >> the president is heading next to st. petersberg so he's going to be on putin's territory. you've canceled the bilateral summit in moscow that was supposed to have taken place. with edward snowden still in russia and with putin still blocking any kind of u.n. action against syria, any way to punish syria with u.n. support, just how difficult is this meeting of the g-20 for president obama? >> the g-20 has an important mission. to make sure we're getting the world economy going and firing on all cylinders. that's going to be the major topic. >> syria is going to dominate t. we know at the g-20s political topics such as syria, these emergencies tend to dominate what happens when the allies meet. >> you're right, andrea. for sure that will be an important topic as well. if you look at it, many of the
g-20 countries have clearly expressed support for needing to do something about this use of chemical weapons by the assad regime and so i think there are a number of countries who will be present with us who feel as strongly as we do about the need to enforce this norm to try to make sure that assad doesn't do this again to make it more difficult for him to do it again and just as important to tell countries around the world who may be trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction or who may already have them that theyimpu >> are you expecting or trying to get some kind of statement from the g-20 against chemical weapon use? >> look, we'll see what happens at the meetings. i know this, as you said, will be a topic of discussion and conversation. i'm sure there will be opportunities for the different countries who feel strongly about the need to not let this go unchecked to express themselves. >> and before i let you go, tony, iran's president rohani has tweeted today, ra sha shan
na meeting to jews around the world, especially iranian jews. i know the ayatollah is the supreme decider of everything in iran, but do you view this as a positive sign? >> i would say this, andrea. the message is welcome. the tone is welcome. what counts are deeds more than words. so with regards to the most significant issue we have with iran, which is its nuclear program, we're looking to see concrete actions and concrete steps. we've put proposals on the table in the recent past with the iranians for a way to move forward and we'll see if they respond in a concrete way. if they do, we'll certainly do so in kind. >> deputy national security advisor, thank you very much. and joining us now for our daily fix, nbc chief white house correspondent chuck today live in stockholm, sweden, and chris
and ann gearen. chuck, first to you in stockholm. what did you hear from tobe ton blinken and some kind of statement from the g-20. it seems that that may be something that they're now pursuing. >> reporter: i would be shocked though if they could think about who's in the g-20. this is not your -- this is not a g-8 or a g-7 and russia type of thing. so to get a statement -- remember, they did get one out of the g-8 which was noncommittal but they got one at the time that simply said, you know, using chemical weapons is bad and all of this. it was a very mushy language, and that was where you had seven countries on one side and russia on the other. you also have china involved in the g-20. you have some other countries here. so i would be shocked if they would be able to get language that would somehow -- any more definitive than what they got at the g-8 itself, andrea.
>> and ann gearen, when we look towards what secretary kerry is trying to do now, they're trying to this read a needle between the john mccain, more aggressive, more militaristic, if you will, opponents of syria, and on the other side, especially in the house, both republicans and democrats who do not want to see strong action taken. >> yeah. the administration is right in the position that -- where you can see this policy heading all along. what can you do that's strong enough to make a difference and that will thus get support from the john mccain's of the world and will look to be part of an overall strategy to really do something in syria and yet does not look like you're starting a war? and if it looks like he's starting a war, he's not going to get the house democrats, he's not going to get a lot of american support. still, absolutely abysmal low numbers of americans who say they want to see anything done.
the white house has to be looking at that. >> chris, do you have any look at the whip count? it looks like it will be up to nancy pelosi. john boehner is supporting it, eric cantor is supporting it. they are not whipping the republicans. >> they're casting as a vote of conscience, they count as two votes, no more. >> andrea, my colleague has spent the last couple of days compiling statements, seeking out statements to try and get where everyone stands. what's fascinating, you saw about 150 members in the house who haven't really said anything yet, but if you add up those who have, which is right around 300, you have 133 either nos against the syrian resolution or leaning no. so, you know, those people may come out first. that's not to say that this is determinative. they may say, look, i'm not open to lobbying. it does show that particularly in the house john kerry, chuck
hagel, president obama, vice president biden, nancy pelosi have a lot of work to do to get them a majority in the house and as chris van holland, member of the democratic leadership said on your show yesterday, he does not think the president should move forward with action if he doesn't get that vote. well, it's going to be tough, not to say it's not doable, but still the numbers are tough. >> and chuck todd traveling with the president, what is your sense whether or not the president would move without congressional authority after now he's gone to the congress? >> it's -- everything i hear is, you know, they're not committing on this in either direction. the president was asked that direct question today. he's not committing to it. he simply says the constitution would allow him to do it. he believes it's within his power, but you talk to anybody associated with the president and they don't think that he would do that. they realize that would be
politically, frankly, very risky and they would have to wait for another action by assad to be provoked into doing something like that, that under the current situation they couldn't. i can tell you one thing i think is going to happen, andrea. i'll be surprised because if we don't hear from the president in some form of a primetime setting speaking directly to the country before this vote, there are many members of congress who are lobbying the white house to do this, both republicans and democrats. this is not one of those times where they think that, you know, sometimes boehner says he doesn't want to hear the president out there. that's not one of those times. they are pushing him hard. democrats are saying if you want me to walk this plank or if you want me to twist arms, you've got to get out there and give the cover. and the white house has been told by some folks from the outside that, hey, don't assume the public is as well versed in what's going on here. you know, you should go out there and explain the significance of using chemical weapons to walk this through. if you look at all the polling
on this, the public would potentially get to where the president is if they have all the information, but the default position without a lot of information is don't get involved. so it's going to probably take the president himself to do this at some point. >> and ann gearan, one of the issues that was raised during the hearing yesterday was by a number of senators, republicans as well as democrats, marco rubio said this administration made it easier for him to use chemicals because you didn't stop him when he was using 100,000 people by using chemical weapons. this is one of the most dramatic moments. this was john kerry slapping down rand paul frankly after rand paul cast some aspersions on kerry's military experience on "meet the press." let's watch. >> if the united states of america doesn't do this, senator, is it more or less likely that assad does it again?
do you want to answer that question? >> i don't think it's known. >> more or less likely that he does it again. >> i think it's unknown whether it's more likely whether you have the attack. >> senator, it's not unknown. if the united states of america doesn't hold him accountable on this with our allies and friends, it's a guarantee assad will do it again, a guarantee. and i urge you to go to the classified briefing and learn that. >> and that was another little dig as we could all see because rand paul apparently had not shown up at the classified briefing, which is available to all of the members. we've got to go but, chuck todd, thank you. safe travels. and chris and ann. thank you all very much. meanwhile, the boys are back. our friend brian williams returned to the "nightly news" broadcast last night after his knee replacement. and another jersey boy, jon stewart was back at "the daily show." stewart got right back into the
rhythm with reacting to breaking news. he did not miss a beat. >> america taking military action against the middle east regime? it's like i never left. what has brought the president to this decision? >> 50 tons of mustard gas and a turkey farm. >> that's the wrong president. wrong president. and that is a different country. >> leave kuwait or be driven out. >> okay. that is the same country and family but that is a slightly different war. >> today we celebrate our independence day. >> that is a fictional president and, to be fair, that war was pretty justified. ♪ welcome back ound ♪ ♪ every now and then i get a little bit hungry ♪ ♪ and there's nothing really good around ♪ ♪ turn around ♪ every now and then i get a little bit tired ♪ ♪ of living off the taste of the air ♪ ♪ turn around, barry
in stockholm today, the president said there is no immediate deadline for striking syria. >> when the chairman of the joint chiefs, mr. dempsey, indicated to me that whether we struck today, tomorrow or a month from now we could still do so effectively, then i think that raised the question of why not ask congress to debate this in a serious way because i do think it raises issues that are going to occur for us and for the international community for many years to come. >> nbc news terrorism director of the national counter terrorism center joins me now. michael, is this open ended? do we not lose anything in terms of mobility on the ground,
targets, his possibility to disperse some of these possible -- >> i don't think it's entirely open ended, andrea, but i think it's probably right that we have a good 30, 60 days before anything really significant is going to change. i've been in "the situation room" when questions of military strategy and tactics come up. this is an area where at least in my experience the chairman of the joint chiefs is not going to budge. he is going to give a very clear military judgment as to the effects of a strike, and politics be dammed, i think in this case if general dempsey is saying we've got a window, it's not going to change the outcome here, i think we really have to take him at his word. >> it's no element of surprise. we've been telegraphing our punches. to put it mildly as robert gibbs said on "meet the press," there was a slight problem over the sequencing of this, the fact that you send out the secretary of state to declassify the
intelligence, which is what i would suggest you do right before you hit, and then all of a sudden pull back without the secretary of state and the vice president. >> well, initially, i think you're exactly right. my previous comments about the military effectiveness of a strike not being dissipated doesn't mean that the way this proceeded politically was ideal, either domestically or really internationally with our allies. we do have strong support from key countries like turkey, saudi arabia, jordan, but the back and forth last year saying we were going to provide weapons for the opposition and having that move very slowly. secretary kerry's very strong statements but then the pull back to go to congress. these are the sorts of things that do rattle the allies that we need in the region and can undermine confidence, especially if the president doesn't get the outcome he obviously wants in congress now. >> john mccain was making the point to secretary kerry yesterday that the syrian opposition are moderate, that they can be trusted, that they
can be trained and that we slow down the process. we promised them weapons in june and now kerry claims they're going to be delivered and in fact that the opposition leaders are going to come to washington and do a show and tell really here to prove it. how do we make sure on the battleground that as much as we may trust these particular leaders, that they won't lose a battle and lose out to the al qaeda elements? >> i think one of the ways that we help ensure that that's not the case is supporting these groups, bringing them to washington, training them, giving them the arms. now if we send arms if we're going, which we are doing in syria now, there's no guarantee that some of those arms won't end up in the hands of groups associated with al qaeda. frankly in my opinion, that's going to happen no matter what we do at this point. and the threat that an organization like elnews ra opposes is not going to be radically changed by some of these weapons getting in their
hand. ultimately it is the conflict, it is the security, it is the lack of structure that keeps them in syria and in place not being a threat. that's a much bigger issue than whether or not some of these arms are going to get into these hands. >> the facts that the saudis and others who were looking for constancy sees so many mixed signals. >> that's a real problem. i think the saudis especially, the qataris, they've seen us move slowly. we can't have our ship tied to their interests. we can't do what they want, but they do want constancy. i think in this case if we can't get this past congress now, it will be a real problem for our credibility in the region. >> michael, thank you very much. as members of the house and senate are arguing today over the terms of the engagement, refugees continue to suffer. more than 2 million people including a million children have now fled to neighboring countries from syria. richard engel is reporting
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the u.n. estimates that 2 million refugees have fled syria. here's richard engel's exclusive reporting from turkey. >> reporter: syrian refugees today carrying everything they could escaping the war. they've walked out, limped out, and were wheeled out at the official border crossing from syria to turkey. 17-year-old maran left with her parents. she hasn't been to school in a year. >> we need help from the united states, from any country. >> reporter: 350 refugees moved into this public park. they had to. the government camps are full. here there's no water, no toilets, no services of any kind. no treatment for 4-month-old hali, born, his parents say,
with a hole in his heart. no treatment for the 1-year-old wounded by shrapnel. >> with that as the back drop, congress is continuing to debate today whether the u.s. should play a role in the region, whether the u.s. should strike. joining me now is congressman adam schiff. thank you very much for joining us here today. >> you bet. >> we talked on saturday on the show about the on again/off again airstrikes. have you come closer to a decision as to where you stand given the resolution that's now being presented on the house side? >> i have come closer. i'm now i think fully persuaded on the intelligence. i bring a great deal of skepticism when it comes to intelligence reports of hostile nations after the iraq experience hangs over all of our head. at a certain point it becomes so compelling that to ignore it means you're turning a blind eye to what's going on. the question of whether the assad regime used gas against his own people has been pretty well resolved. the question is now what do we do about it and while i couldn't
support the draft that the administration put forward was very open ended, we're getting closer to a resolution that i may be able to support now that the senate is still debating that and the tough line that the president has to walk is if they move to broaden the resolution to get the support of the mccains and the grahams, they're going to lose the support of members like myself because we don't want to get embroiled in another civil war. >> chris van holland who i think feels similarly to you, we were talking yesterday. he's put out a member letter, dear colleague letter which is talking about limits and making sure that there would be no boots on the ground. is that basically where you come down as well? >> it is. i think that we need a very narrow resolution, both in terms of limiting the time duration, limiting the focus on the term of the chemical weapons use, precluding any boots on the ground. all of that will be necessary not only to satisfy the congress but to satisfy the american
people that we are not embarking on another war. there's just no appetite for that after iraq and afghanistan. >> secretary kerry got himself into a bit of a pickle yesterday at the hearing because he said now hypothetically he could imagine boots going on the ground if syria imploded and chemical stockpiles were at risk of going to al qaeda to front al qaeda supported groups. then perhaps special forces might go in. bob corker from tennessee jumped all over him. he said, wait a second, you're not opening that door. kerry quickly reiterated, no, i'm shutting that down, and realized that any conversation about boots on the ground that would satisfy a john mccain is a nonstarter with a lot of others. >> i think it's a nonstarter for democrats, i think it's a nonstarter for most republicans in both houses. there's no willingness to entertain military intervention in the form of boots on the ground. certainly nothing that would be
authorized now. it is potential -- it's always possible given what happens in syria down the road, the administration may have to come back to congress, but there's no way that congress is going to leave that door even a fraction open in terms of the resolution they put forward. >> since john boehner is not whipping this, are you hearing from leader pelosi and are democrats going to go to the mat and give the president what he wants or do you think enough democrats would turn their back on the president and damage his credibility overseas? >> it's going to be a very close vote i think just as it was in the british parliament. probably we won't know the yeahs and the nays until they're called. there's a big block of republicans who won't support it. there will be a sizeable block of democrats who are war weary, as i am, but who don't believe in military action even in support of the humanitarian cause. so that leaves a pretty narrow window in the middle that the president is going to have to
try to win over. it's going to be tough to do so. one other factor i'm going to be looking to, i think many other members as well, is the president able to build an international coalition? there's really a strong desire i think among the american people that we not go this alone and consistent with what the president has said in the past, we should be acting in concert with the international community. >> irony of ironies, relying on france this time and not on the britts. congressman, thank you very much. >> great to be with you. and we'll be right back. stay with us. p
triggering nerves across the region in cooperation with the pentagon. joining me are bloomberg view columnists and ken pollack, senior fellow at the brookings institution, former white house official and the middle east policy and the author of "unthinkable iran, the bomb." it's september. your book is coming out, ken. >> it is. >> we look forward to reading that. >> i need a longer bio. >> your tweets are enough and funny. >> thank you. >> so here we have israel has been on the sidelines for the last couple of days. now it's very clear that israel views this in its interest to go after syria. what is the sort of view in the middle east of the way the administration has handled this so far. >> there's been a lot of confusion and a lot of perplex city as to what exactly the administration is doing. i'm getting bombarded by calls
in the region over why they're doing what they're doing, why they're sequencing it. >> why ask congress. >> essentially after the president announces he's going to go, but he's going to go to congress first. it's reinforced a sense within the region that the administration is not committed to this and there are actually a lot of people i think both arab and israeli who are very fearful that the president doesn't want to do it. many of them in the region would like to see it happen and that the president is going to pull the plug at the last minute or use the congress to justify not doing something. again, it gets to this over arching fear in the region that they don't know where the u.s. is right now. >> where the u.s. is is where the president is. what we saw, jeff, is that this was a presidential decision pure and simple. usually when we hear from the secretary of state, well, the president's not yet decided but here's the intelligence. these are the reasons. this is why we are doing this. all week the drum beat. national security council meetings and all of the background information we were being told by very, very high
ranking officials. >> a little bit of a moment. never behind. >> at 6:00 he goes for a walk in the south grounds with dennis mcdonagh, his chief of staff and calls in the political and national security council staff and they argue for two hours. >> yeah. yeah. no, it's quite remarkable. you know what -- and it is a mess and in the middle east it's being -- first of all, in the middle east in the nondemocratic states they think it's a ruse. get your congress to approve. you appointed them, right? so there's that level of confusion, but there's also this fear of dithering. there's this fear of hesitancy and of course there's a fear about what it means for the more important red line, the iran red line. can i just come back one quick second? >> sure. >> i think there's a misunderstanding about apac and this misunderstanding. apac would have been happy to stay out of this.
you have a supreme irony which is that the white house has basically asked apac and these other organizations to come out and lobby for them. >> they're on opposite sides of everything. >> if you go to george bush today and tell him that lindsey graham, john mccain and apac are doing the president's bidding to bomb an arab country, i think he might find that semiamusing. >> a lot of house democrats are concerned that if you get lindsey graham and john mccain on board, you lose as adam schiff was saying, you lose liberal democrats and tea party republicans. >> i hate to speak to this liberal divide which is fascinating. it's partially in response to iraq and bigger changes going on in the country, which is you now have the extremes, the far right, the far left left in agreement against intervention and the center left and center right in agreement on intervention. that's a very radical shift from even where we were ten years ago on issues of war and peace in the middle east.
>> ken, we've talked about how the gulf state leaders, how the saudis and others view what's been happening in washington. how does the ayatollah view it? just at the point where we were beginning to talk about bilateral negotiations with iran. >> i think this is a critical issue and i think we have to start by saying, we don't have a clue. we don't know what's going on in his head. one of the things we do know about the iranians, they think they are far more important and far more power full than the syrians. they think we think they're far more important and powerful than the syrians. they think we had they'd do it to syria but not us. we have to be really careful about assuming that we know what's going on in his head. we really don't. >> we don't know what's going on in his head but we do know what president rouhani tweeted. i alluded to this earlier, as the sun is about to set here in tehran, i wish all jews,
especially iranians juice uplifted rosh hashan na. that's the first new year's greeting you've had from the president of iran. >> they used to send a card every year. >> denying the holocaust. >> no, but the answer is that's very nice, happy new year to you, too. could you please get your supreme leader to stop calling for the annihilation of the jewish state. that would be a nice compliment to rosh hashan na. >> ken pollock, talking to you next week about the book and jeff goldberg. happy new year to you. >> happy new year to you.
this is one of those moments. >> the senate foreign relations committee hearing going on now. joining me, former governor, bob kerry. thank you very much for being with us, senator. >> you're welcome. >> well, if you were in the senate right now, what side would you be on knowing what we've seen publicly of the intelligence of chemical weapons being used? >> well, it depends. i mean, it sounds like what they're doing, andrea, is heading the path this is really not a war powers resolution. i mean, i -- the president as he said last week, he had the authority to do this. he can make a case not to do it, he can make a case to do it. i don't think you can make a case to dither for another week. when general dempsey says it doesn't matter, let them noah head of time, since when does the element of surprise not become important to the tactic. tell them to the rev fee gees who are pouring across the
border into turkey or jordan. the uncertainty is a problem. as i said, you can reach a conclusion that a strike is necessary. you can reach a conclusion that a strike is going to produce blow back that will do more damage but i don't think you can make a case to go to congress and have this painful conversation that's apt to lead to as i said not a war powers resolution, but this is not a war powers resolution. no boots on the ground. no capability to actually take bashar assad down. it's a retaliatory strike against the use of chemical weapons. it's quite unusual. >> what i didn't understand last week and still don't understand is why the president and the white house dialed it up to the point that they did. >> i don't know. >> sending out secretary kerry last friday at 1:00 with all of the intelligence being declassified and then decided at the very last moment to go to congress. >> well, the only way you can explain it, it's indecisive.
a lack of understanding what the impact is going to be when you make it look like you're going to attack and then you don't. you go to the congress to get them to pass, as i said, not a resolution that authorizes such force as necessary to bring down bashar assad but military strike as a retaliatory signal for his use of chemical weapons. so it's -- yeah, i would say if you're confused, join the crowd. i was vastly confused by this and i think it sent a signal of weakness to the rest of the world. you could see it. the president's got to get apac to come in and put themselves actually at risk by lobbying in favor of this thing. you asked me at the beginning would i support it. look, i would support a strategy to bring down bashar assad. i think we've been way too slow in this thing. we've waited a couple of years longer than we should have. it's much more difficult today and i think you have to think about the entire region as you do it. we've got to make certain that this doesn't destabilize jordan,
for example. they're an ally of ours. the refugees flowing into jordan present tremendous problems for the regime there. have you to think of this beyond the use of chemical weapons. otherwise, it seems we'll have another set of incidents where we dither and don't know what to do. >> senator, is it too late for us to become more engaged if that is what the administration decides to do or should they now make sure that the weapons get to these opposition groups that have been supposedly vetted on the gamble that they won't get into the hands of al qaeda supported groups like al nusra. >> i don't think it is too late. it's a gamble worth running. this is a country, syria in my view, is a country that's much more likely the outcome is going to be, you know, a sectarian -- i mean, a secular government than not. i mean, there's plenty of reason to reach that conclusion.
yeah, the radical sunni muslims are dangerous inside of syria, but i think they can be marginalized. they can certainly be marginalized if you continue to support the moderates. rather than waiting until the last minute and then dealing with that as well. yeah, do i worry about it? sure, i worry about it. smarter guys than i on this subject have analyzed this and reached a conclusion that it's a risk worth running and that's where i come out as well. >> and finally, how do you think the administration is -- the president is being viewed elsewhere in the region? >> i actually don't know. i only know how he's being perceived by me. i really can't tell you beyond that. by my standpoint, i'm just confused. you know, i'm relatively rational and my guess is outside of the united states of america and in this region, there's an awful lot of confusion. by the way, i had lunch with liz moynahan, and she says hi. >> what a nice message.
thank you very much. someone we all love very, very much. pat moynahan and liz, of course, were mentors to you and a lot of others here in washington. thank you, senator. it's great to see you again. >> thanks. >> look forward to talking to you again soon. we continue to follow that house hearing happening right now on the hill where lawmakers are arguing over the terms it of engagement in syria. we'll be right back.
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so which political story will make headlines in the next 24 hours? chris is back with us. chris, i think it was one of your washington post photographers who first picked up on the poker playing during that 3 1/2-hour hearing yesterday. >> yeah, a woman by the name of melina mara caught that. we posted it on the live blog we're doing. amazing how some senators spend
their time during those hearings. >> so played any iphone poker lately? that was, of course, john mccain during the hearing. did you see his tweet acknowledging that was him? >> i did. he kind of poked fun at himself and said, you know, the worst part of all this, i lost. look, i do think in this modern era where there are photographers, people tweeting, people posting on youtube everywhere, you're smart to just say, look, you know, i'd asked my questions, people had moved on, and i was killing time, essentially, not what john mccain said. i think it's smart to poke a little fun at yourself. gosh knows i poke enough fun at myself. >> yes, busted. we should say that on twitter a lot of people were upset because of the seriousness of the subject. >> right, and i think that's why mccain felt like he needed to say something. >> chris, thank you so much. and that does it for us for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." tomorrow, congressman elijah
cummings. remember, follow the show online and on twitter @mitchellreports. my colleague tamron hall has a look at what's next on "news nation." >> hi, andrea. thank you very much. coming up, breaking news from capitol hill. at any moment, the senate foreign relations committee is expected to vote on whether to authorize military force in syria. this, by the way, happening at the very same time the obama administration takes its case for action to the house. we'll have a live report. plus, new information on the suicide of cleveland kidnapper ariel castro. an investigation is underway into what one official calls a final slap at the victims. we'll talk with a correspondent on deadline crime about this latest turn. plus, this just in. george zimmerman stopped by police for a second time in just two months. it's all coming up next on "news nation." hey america, even though she doesn't need them, cheryl burke is cha-cha-ing in depend silhouette briefs for charity, to prove that with soft fabric and waistband,
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castro's family to his prison cell suicide. plus, one man's battle against the justice department. he's an undocumented immigrant who graduated law school and even passed the bar, but the government says he cannot practice. i'm tamron hall. the news nation is following breaking news. two significant developments in the push to get members of congress to support the president's plan for military action in syria. live at this hour, the senate foreign relations committee will vote on a resolution to consider authorization for the use of military force. also right now, the house foreign relations committee is hearing testimony from secretaries john kerry and chuck hagel as they spend a second day on capit hill making the administration's case. >> the world is