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TODAY   |  September 09, 2013

Obama talks Syria with Republican senators

As President Obama faces one of the most crucial weeks of his presidency, he met with key Republican senators about the situation in Syria. NBC’s Peter Alexander reports.

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>> did it?

>> we're going to begin with air strikes in syria . congress ensd it's summer recess today and prepares to vote. peter alexander is at the white house . good morning to you.

>> good morning. within the last couple of hours secretary of state john kerry traveling this morning in europe said bashar al assad could avoid a military strike by turning over all of his chemical weapons within a week but he was sure that would never happen. he was responding to the latest comments that the american's evidence of chemical weapons use is in assad's word's a big lie . the white house is launching it's biggest congressional push since the fight over healthcare.

>> reporter: facing one of the most crucial weeks of his presidency and skepticism from lawmakers, president obama jump started his personal effort to convince congress to strike syria .

>> we cannot turn a blind eye to imagines like the ones we have seen out of syria .

>> reporter: his weekly address previewing tomorrow night's primetime speech and today he'll sit for national tv interviews. meeting in london this morning, secretary of state john kerry tried to dispel any doubt.

>> the chemical weapons in syria we have tracked for some period of time now are controlled in a tight manner by the assad regime.

>> he is trying to fend off an american attack warning of retaliation if the u.s. strikes. in an interview with cbs news denying responsibility for gassing his own people. but u.s. government officials say they authenticated these 13 videos after last month's chemical weapon attack near damascus. they will be shown to house members during a classified meeting today.

>> the question then becomes what are the consequences for him for having done this and what does the world read to how we react to it.

>> reporter: still, many in congress question u.s. intervention.

>> little wars start big wars and we have to remember that and be cautious.

>> make no mistake about it. the minute one of those cruise missiles lands in there, they are in the sere juan war.

>> white house advisors acknowledge they haven't done a good enough job clarifying their position. demonstrating the consequences of inaction and why american national interests are at stake. they'll try to do that over the next 24 to 48 hours . the question now is whether it's too late.

>> all right. peter alexander at the white house for us this morning. thank you.