BOSTON (CBS) – It’s not often we see an administration put the full weight of the White House behind an issue – not only lobbying for support on Capitol Hill, but also bringing the case directly to the American people.
And you’ll see what I mean over the next two days.
It all starts Monday with a series of network TV interviews. Six of them. President Obama will use them to get into your living room, make the case for an attack, and attempt to regain control of the narrative after the Charlie Rose interview with Syrian President Bashar Assad.
And by the way, it’s no coincidence that Assad granted that interview when he did. He and Obama will compete for TV time Monday.
But President Obama will own the airwaves Tuesday night when he speaks to the nation in a formal White House address, setting the stage for a vote the very next day in the U.S. Senate.
And what happens from there could impact the rest of this president’s second term agenda.
I say that because a president only gets so much political capital. And this one has used a lot – most recently in the debate around the fiscal cliff and budget cuts – and you could argue that he’s using whatever he’s got left right now, asking members of Congress to take a very unpopular vote that could bite back around election time.
You hear and read the clichés every day – “it’s a high wire act”…”the stakes are high”…”the pressure is on.” And they would be true.
If this vote fails, following such an aggressive effort by the White House, it could mean trouble for the president with even the most basic items – like a budget – and the most complex – like immigration reform.
President Obama is framing this as a moral issue. But our response still comes down to politics in Washington.
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