TODAY   |  September 03, 2013

McCain: Obama ‘put himself in a difficult situation’

Senator John McCain has been critical of the Obama administration’s dealing with Syria, telling TODAY that President Obama has made a difficult situation for himself by saying he would strike Syria.

Share This:

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

>> turn to senator john mccain . he is making headlines for the result of his meeting with the president on monday. he joins us from capitol hill . good morning to you.

>> good morning.

>> you said yesterday on the white house north lawn that for congress to reject the president's call for military action would be catastrophic. so let me pin you down on this. you are a yes vote for military action even if it doesn't go as far as you would hope.

>> no because i can't support something i'm afraid maybe doomed to failure in the long run but it still will be catastrophic if we turn down and reverse a policy that was announced by the president of the united states to the world, an action that was going to take place is then negated. i think it does horrendous damage to the credibility of the president of the united states . but if this resolution does not do what we discussed with the president of the united states yesterday, degrade assad's capability of delivering these weapons, including his arpair power and getting the right weapons to the army and changing the momentum on the ground then this resolution will not have the desired effect.

>> everyone knows that syria is an array of bad and worse options but let me put it to you. sit better to do nothing than to do something that is limited?

>> i think it's a very tough call. but to do nothing is, as i said, would have consequences throughout the world. but to do something that really doesn't change anything, in other words, some token strikes and then sometime later bashar al assad uses the chemical weapons again. what do we do then? go through the same routine. the president of the united states put himself in a very difficult position when he said two years agatha bashar al assad should leave. that there was a red line on the use of chemical weapons and now after saying he would launch strikes is now referring to congress for their approval or disapproval. it's a very difficult game that he is playing and the stakes are incredibly high and by the way, this is already a regional conflict.

>> very quickly, in just the few seconds i have left. to be candid with the american people , if the u.s. were to engage in military action in syria, what are the chances that that's the end of it? is there any scenario in which the u.s. doesn't get more deeply and deeply involved?

>> yes, you provide the weapons and it's is distinct advantage bashar al assad had. you commit to no american troops on the ground and you can reverse this. the syrian army is strong and moderate and anybody that tells you anything different isn't telling you the truth. we need to reverse the situation on the battlefield. it's an unfair fight. russian weapons are pouring in and this is a proxy war that the iranians will gain or lose by this.

>> at this moment, do you have confidence that this resolution will pass?

>> say that again?

>> do you have confidence that this will ultimately pass the congress?

>> i hope so but it's got to be a resolution that will achieve the goals that i just described and, if it doesn't, then obviously i can't support it.

>> senator john mccain . always good to get your perspective, thank