President Obama spent about an hour on Monday afternoon trying to convince the usually-reliable Congressional Black Caucus to back him up on bombing Syria.
“This afternoon, President Obama dropped by a meeting National Security Advisor Susan Rice was having with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the Roosevelt Room to discuss the situation in Syria,” a White House aide said Monday.
Obama’s wooing comes as a large number of members of the Congressional Black Caucus have come out against military intervention. The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported that only two of the 42 caucus members support military strikes .
On Monday evening, the apprehension to support Obama on the issue appeared to still be the case as lawmakers attended a closed-door briefing on Syria in the Capitol.
“There has to be a way this can be solved diplomatically,” Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida told reporters before entering the briefing. “We do not need more war, and we definitely don’t need more in the Middle East.”
“I am solidly undecided,” Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said as she entered the meeting.
“It was a great meeting with the president,” Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland said. “He spent an hour with us. He hadn’t planned to spend an hour with us. Matter of fact, we didn’t expect him to be there at all.”
But Cummings said Obama still has his work cut out: “I’m looking for his speech tomorrow night. It’s going to be a major speech. And I think that will be his moment to convince not only the Congress, but the country, that his proposal is appropriate.”