President Obama addresses nation on Syria

President Obama addresses nation on Syria

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON D.C. -

FOX NEWS -- President Obama, in an address to the nation on Syria, said Tuesday he has asked Congress to "postpone a vote" on military action in Syria in order to make room for diplomatic negotiations that could avert a strike.

The president said the recently emerging talks have the "potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force."

Related: The full transcript from President Obama's address on Syria.

The president, though, continued to call for the threat of U.S. military action as a fallback in case the diplomatic course does not work. He said that while he had resisted calls for military action in the country's civil war, the situation "profoundly changed" after the Assad regime "gassed to death" hundreds of people last month.

The president addressed the nation a little more than a week after declaring he would seek congressional support for a military strike on Syria, in response to a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21.

But the environment changed rapidly over the past two days, forcing Obama to recalibrate his approach and walk back his "red line" threats, while still leaving open the door to military action.

The game-changer came after Secretary of State John Kerry at first casually floated the idea of Syria turning over its chemical weapons to avert a strike. The Russians then swiftly adopted the idea as a formal proposal, which Syrian government officials now say they will accept, forcing the Obama administration to give it a chance. Kerry will travel to Geneva on Thursday to speak with his Russian counterpart.

Senior Obama administration officials on Tuesday claimed that the White House has been working on such a chemical weapons hand-over plan with the Russians for up to a year. But they acknowledged that Kerry got ahead of the process when he made the off-handed remark on Monday morning.

Obama is now in a tricky spot, balancing between the threat of military action and a stated desire to pursue the diplomatic track. He and his top officials are publicly wary that the Assad regime would fully comply with a plan to turn over its chemical weapons.

At the same time, Obama continues to face an uphill climb in getting Congress to approve the use of force.

And with the possibility of a diplomatic solution on the table, some congressional leaders – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi among them -- were even less inclined to entertain a vote on military action.

"It is not necessary for Congress to give the president this authority," Pelosi said. "We are grateful that he has asked for it but if he sees an opportunity we don't want the Russians to think that his leverage is diminished because of a vote (that) may or may not succeed within the Congress." 

Russia's Vladimir Putin sought to use the sudden change in dynamic to his advantage, and the advantage of his ally Bashar Assad. He demanded Tuesday that the U.S. abandon discussions on military action – a statement Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who supports military action, called "unacceptable."

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • New D.E.A. prescription drug restrictions

    New D.E.A. prescription drug restrictions

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:37 PM EDT2014-08-23 03:37:29 GMT
    Managing your chronic pain could prove to be a tougher process starting this fall. The federal government is stepping up restrictions for prescribing hydrocodone.The new restrictions are part of an effort to cut down on abuse and dependency.
    Managing your chronic pain could prove to be a tougher process starting this fall. The federal government is stepping up restrictions for prescribing hydrocodone.The new restrictions are part of an effort to cut down on abuse and dependency.
  • Jim Thorpe awards gala celebrates courage in Oklahoma City

    Jim Thorpe awards gala celebrates courage in Oklahoma City

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:32 PM EDT2014-08-23 03:32:34 GMT
    True courage in the face of adversity was awarded Friday night at the annual Integris Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Center Courage Award Gala. The event was held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
    True courage in the face of adversity was awarded Friday night at the annual Integris Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Center Courage Award Gala. The event was held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
  • Oklahoma war correspondent, professor, remembers slain journalist

    Oklahoma war correspondent, professor, remembers slain journalist

    Friday, August 22 2014 10:58 PM EDT2014-08-23 02:58:09 GMT
    Scenes from veteran war correspondent and Oklahoman Mike Boettcher's film the Hornet's Nest show the violence and chaos of war.It documents the dangers for troops overseas and the reporters that cover them."People think we're addicted to war or we're addicted to conflict. Really, I think, I'm not," Boettcher said.This week, Boettcher is remembering a friend and colleague James Foley---brutally executed at the hands of ISIS in Syria."He was just a very calm guy. And there is a certain trait th...
    Scenes from veteran war correspondent and Oklahoman Mike Boettcher's film the Hornet's Nest show the violence and chaos of war.It documents the dangers for troops overseas and the reporters that cover them."People think we're addicted to war or we're addicted to conflict. Really, I think, I'm not," Boettcher said.This week, Boettcher is remembering a friend and colleague James Foley---brutally executed at the hands of ISIS in Syria."He was just a very calm guy. And there is a certain trait th...
  • FOX25 Slideshows

  • FOX 25 FeaturesMore>>

  • Tell Me Something Good

    Tell Me Something Good

    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
  • Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by 

WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KOKH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.