TODAY   |  September 01, 2013

Will Obama move forward on Syria, no matter what?

“I don’t think whether Congress says yea or nay it will affect the battle plan,” said David Gregory, moderator of “Meet the Press,” speaking on the recent decision by President Obama to consult with Congress before taking military action on Syria. Gregory is interviewed by TODAY’s Erica Hill.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> david gregory is moderator of "meet the press." he joins thus morning. david, good morning.

>> good morning.

>> let's stick with the international reaction are for a second as we just heard from richard. for some of the syrians they're speaking to a very different reaction. the president says this isn't time sensitive. what does this do to the president in terms of international clout?

>> well, i think the undenial reality is there was an abrupt shift here. the president almost appeared as if he were debating this in his own head as the way he spoke about it in the last few days. there's no question he was ramping up for imminent military strikes. as early as this weekend. sending out his secretary of state, putting all the assets in place. and then had a change of heart and wanted to get congress' approval. so he pursues this delay. i think there's a feeling in the middle east among arab allies and other allies, like israel, that the u.s. has undermined some credibility, undermined some of its leverage. the question of what happens if bashar al assad uses conventional or chemical weapons in the next few weeks? what happens then in the course of this delay? so i think these are some of the issues that the u.s. is going to face and, again, i would expect secretary kerry will make the point as the president did that the decision has been made to strike syria. it's just a question of when, and that's where we proceed.

>> and i know secretary kerry will be joining you later this morning on "meet the press." he made this impassioned plea. people were talk iing about his former life as an attorney, you could see it coming through on friday. and this morning some of the accounts you read, in fact, the secretary of state was hung out to dry by the president. is that accurate?

>> well, it's certainly an issue that we'll discuss with him. my reporting indicates that almost everybody on the national security team, including secretary kerry , did not think that the president should seek congressional authority. the president and his legal counsel felt otherwise and that view prevailed that they should seek out authority. so, yeah, again, this jarring shift from kerry making the case to the president changing his mind, but this is also important. kerry making that case on friday is still very important and it will only ratchet up as they go to congress and say, look, this is the evidence. that the assad regime used chemical weapons and, therefore, you have got to give the president the authority that he seeks. and the authority is really about preventing chemical weapons .

>> but there's a very real possibility, tad, they will not grant that authority, and the president has intimated he could still go ahead with this. does he have to not just in terms of the credibility but the domestic credibility.

>> i think the president has been pretty clear. he feels he has the authority now and he's made the decision to strike syria. i don't think whether congress says yes or no it will affect the battle plan. but i think the president wants to debate.