The President only has a matter of days to convince Congress, the Senate, and the rest of the nation that striking Syria as punishment for the chemical attack that killed 1,400 people is a good idea. The administration is making a final, manic, positively mad dash to sway everyone to their side.
Because impassioned, well argued speeches from Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. ambassador Samantha Power weren't enough. There's no smoking gun, no slam dunk, no physical evidence tracing the chemical attack definitively back to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The country doesn't want another war. Whatever the explanation, the country is seemingly not behind the President's desire to attack Syria. But this last push before it goes before the legislative body hopes to change that.
On Saturday, the first volley was thrown. The public was given a small glimpse into the case administration officials were using to sell Senators on an attack during classified closed door meetings. CNN's Jake Tapper got ahold of the 13 video playlist, many previously available on Youtube, administration officials are using in conjunction with intelligence and satellite information to argue Assad was responsible for the attack in Damascus (warning: this content is graphic):
"Many of the videos have been posted on the Internet before, but this collection of footage is significant because the intelligence community has given it a stamp of authenticity," Tapper says. "While the videos are hard to watch, they do not prove who is responsible for the attack, nor do they provide an answer for whether military strikes are the correct course." That must be why the President is also spending his weekend selling a strike during phone calls with other lawmakers.
Sunday is a quiet day. There will be major leaks to major papers, certainly, but they have not been published yet. The future is still unwritten, or, at least, being revised by an editor. But then, on Monday and Tuesday, that's when the real fun begins. The National Journal's White House pool reporter Matt Vasilogambros reported today that Obama will sit down and tape interviews with ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox News and PBS. Those interviews will all air on their respective channel's nightly news broadcasts. The President will be all over your television news, no matter your preference, slant, or party. "That Obama will talk to Fox News shows how aggressively White House is trying to sell its Syria policy to a fractious Republican electorate," reporter Gabriel Sherman said on Twitter.
On Tuesday, the President will sit down and lay out his case again. This time it won't be on a holiday weekend, or through the filter and restrictions of an interview with a news anchor. Obama will address the nation, call on the oratory skills that helped him through two elections to convince the country this is the right thing, and do what every President before him since Reagan has done.
Then it's out of his hands and up to the House and Senate. There'll be nothing else he can do.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.