Obama seeks to recruit McCain, Graham backing on Syria military action

President Obama will seek to convince Sens. John McCainJohn McCainThe Hill's 12:30 Report State officials under pressure to OK ObamaCare premium hikes McCain's primary opponent takes shot at his age MORE (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGraham: Let special prosecutor probe Clinton emails The Trail 2016: Clinton’s ups and downs Graham: GOP being 'left behind' under Trump MORE (R-S.C.) to support limited military strikes against Syria during a White House meeting on Monday.

McCain and Graham will meet with Obama at about 2 p.m. 

McCain and Graham support military action, but argue the strike under consideration by Obama is too limited, and their support of congressional authorization is in doubt.

ADVERTISEMENT
If Obama can bring the two around, it would greatly increase the chances of military authorization being approved by the Senate, though winning House approval could remain difficult.

The meeting is part of what the White House has called a “flood the zone” effort to win congressional and public support behind a strike against Syria.

The House Democratic Caucus will receive an unclassified briefing via telephone on Monday morning. Secretary of Defense Chuck HagelChuck HagelThere's still time for another third-party option Hagel says NATO deployment could spark a new Cold War with Russia Overnight Defense: House panel unveils 5B defense spending bill MORE, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryWatchdogs warn of 'serious' conflicts of interest for Clinton Foundation Kerry: More 'work to do' in avoiding civilian casualties in Yemen Chaffetz presses Kerry on Clinton Foundation MORE are among the officials giving the briefing, whith the White House expects a large number of Democrats will dial-in for.

Obama, Vice President Biden and White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough are also making calls to individual members to win them over.

On Tuesday, Obama will meet with chairmen and ranking members of several key committees: the Senate Armed Services, Senate Foreign Relations, Senate Intelligence, House Foreign Affairs, House Intelligence and House Armed Services panels.

In a joint statement, McCain and Graham said Saturday that limited action would be “an inadequate response” to violence in Syria.

“[W]e cannot in good conscience support isolated military strikes in Syria that are not part of an overall strategy that can change the momentum on the battlefield, achieve the President's stated goal of Assad's removal from power, and bring an end to this conflict, which is a growing threat to our national security interests,” the senators said.

McCain also said on CBS' “Face the Nation” on Sunday that any attack “can't just be, in my view, pinprick cruise missiles.”

Other lawmakers argued after a classified briefing from administration officials on Sunday that the authorization sought by the White House was too broad.

This story was posted at 9:20 a.m. and updated at 11:00 a.m.